Delight as Blaenau Gwent school, Rhos y Fedwen, is to remain open
7:02am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
A delighted Bev Nash, headteacher of Rhos y Fedwen Primary School in Rassau, Ebbw Vale, which has been saved from closure.
A BLAENAU Gwent school that has been under threat of closure for a year has been told it will remain open.
Blaenau Gwent Council had proposed to close Rhos y Fedwen Primary, in north Ebbw Fawr Valley, on August 31, 2014, with pupils moved to Glyncoed Primary.
The proposal was part of the 21st Century Schools programme and a bid to reduce surplus places in the county.
But at a meeting of the council last week, the education commissioner decided that statutory notices will not be pursued and Rhos y Fedwen Primary School will remain open.
Education commissioner Bethan Guilfoyle said: “This is a difficult , which has been saved from closure. A delighted Bev Nash, headteacher of Rhos y Fedwen Primary Schdecision to make but I have considered the views of everyone concerned with Rhos y Fedwen Primary School and Glyncoed Primary School.
“On balance, keeping the two schools open is the more appropriate option at this stage.
“Education standards have improved at Rhos y Fedwen, but the council and I will monitor the situation closely going into the future.”
In October 2012 it was announced three Blaenau Gwent primary schools could be closed following new plans to help reduce surplus places in the borough.
Briery Hill primary, in Tredegar, Rhos y Fedwen and Blaentillery primaries in Abertillery, were selected as schools which could shut down.
Briery Hill Primary School closed in August 2013 and Blaentillery Primary School is currently under statutory notice until October 4 .
Rhos y Fedwen Primary School has a capacity of 236, but 111 surplus places, Blaentillery Primary School has a capacity of 127 and 74 surplus places and Briery Hill Primary has a capacity of 161, but has 82 surplus places.
The proposals followed a £20.25 million capital investment from the Welsh Government to invest in the school estate in the borough between 2014 and 2020.
The Welsh Government has set a target for all local authorities to reduce their surplus school places to below 15 per cent by 2015 but the council is aiming to reach 10 per cent.
But consultations presented at last week’s council meeting proved the proposed closure was unpopular with the majority of residents, parents and children in the area.
Head teacher Bev Nash said: “Obviously we are delighted.
“It’s been a very difficult year of uncertainty for parents, children and staff, and we are so pleased they have decided to keep this community school open.”
Parent governor Joanna Tauvati-Edmunds, mother of Seren, five, and Evan, seven, who attend the school, said: “We feel really vindicated by this decision.
“Everyone at the school has worked really hard for this, and we are all really relieved.
“When all this first started it was a real David and Goliath fight for us.
“But the school is doing so well, and we want to carry on the good work.
“It really is a lovely, lovely school and we want to address surplus places.”
Under the 21st century schools programme, several schools in Gwent are being closed or undergoing drastic change.
Caldicot Secondary School is to be rebuilt and Kemys Fawr Infants in Pontypool is to shut, while Pontnewynydd School, Pontymoile Primary School and Two Locks Nursery are all facing possible closure with decisions being awaited.
A new £4.5 million primary school will be built in Raglan, and work on the school is anticipated to start next summer and open in late 2015.
Caerphilly could also gain a new ‘super school’ under the programme – ‘Islwyn West’ would create a similar-size school to Blackwood Comprehensive School, tackle surplus places and save £8 million on a 25-year backlog of required maintenance.
Pupils could start moving to the new school in September 2016.
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