THREE schools in Torfaen will close this year as part of a £257.6 million transformation after cabinet members agreed to the plans.

Two Locks Nursery School and Kemys Fawr Infants School, in Sebastopol, along with Pontymoile Primary School, in Pontypool, will close at the end of August.

Following a six-week consultation at the end of last year, cabinet members received a report yesterday which highlighted findings of the consultation and agreed to proceed with statutory notices to shut the schools.

Chief education officer Mark Provis presented the report to cabinet members.

It said approximately 3,500 consultation letters were sent to all parents, carers, staff and governors of the affected schools.

Executive member for education Cllr Mary Barnett said: “It’s never easy to make the decision to close schools but Estyn were criticising us for not reducing surplus places and the Welsh minister has told us we have to, so we have no option but to proceed as soon as possible.”

The consultation also included dropin sessions at the schools and an online consultation on the council’s website.

Pupils from Two Locks Nursery School will be moved to Nant Celyn Primary School, which will have its age range expanded, while Pontymoile pupils will be split between George Street Primary and New Inn Primary.

Children at Kemys Fawr Infants will move to Griffithstown Primary.

Pontymoile’s autistic special needs resource base will close, with pupils moving to Nant Celyn Primary in Cwmbran.

These proposals aim to reduce surplus school places and Torfaen council says the changes will also improve the use of school resources.

The plans are the first step in the council’s 21st Century Schools Programme and would see pupils starting at their new schools from September 1.

The council came up with the proposals after the Welsh Government requested all councils to submit plans in 2010 to tackle issues of ageing school buildings and surplus places.

Statutory notices about the closures will be open to objections for one month from publication, but a date is yet to be fixed.

If no objections are received, the proposals will be determined with a report to the executive member. If objections are received the matter will be referred to Welsh ministers.