Parents voice concerns on Pontnewynydd School closure plan

South Wales Argus: Public Meeting at Pontnewynydd Primary School. The gathering at Pontnewynyyd Primary (2822974) Public Meeting at Pontnewynydd Primary School. The gathering at Pontnewynyyd Primary (2822974)

AROUND fifty parents attended a meeting yesterday to oppose the closure of Pontnewynydd Primary School.

At the meeting at the school, Torfaen's head of access, engagement and performance, John Tushingham highlighted that the proposals form part of Torfaen’s 21st Century Schools programme which aims to tackle ageing buildings and surplus places.

On the point that approximately £746,000 is needed in backlog maintenance, one parent said: “This building has been standing for over 100 years, so how can the council say that in 15 years time it won’t be the same?”

Another parent added: “You have failed our children by not keeping our school building maintained.”

Mr Tushingham said: “The big issue is about access in the building due to its layout. In terms of the building's condition we have information provided to us annually.”

Parents argued that the details in the consultation documents were not up to date so therefore inaccurate.

Mr Tushingham agreed that they can look at new information and include it.

The proposal sets out that children will move to Penygarn School following the closure in September 2015.

One parent said: “Children will not get the quality of education that they get here as the classes will be too big.”

Mr Tushingham explained that decisions on whether children’s education will be equal to what they currently receive will be up to the education inspectorate, Estyn.

Further concerns are that there is no safe route to school to Penygarn School and major traffic problems in the area.

Parents are also worried that the learning plaza and TV studio will be lost and no assurances can be given that such technology would be provided at Penygarn School.

Speaking after the meeting, parent, Lisa Owen, said: “ At this school my child gets the best education, which won’t be offered at a larger school.

“I have no issues with the age of the building or that it is spread over different floors. I don’t understand why they would want to close an excellent school.”

A public consultation will run until December 16 on https://mysay.torfaen.gov.uk

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