Cabinet asked by officers to close Pontnewynydd Primary School
3:01pm Sunday 18th May 2014 in News
TORFAEN cabinet members will be asked to agree to close Pontnewynydd Primary School next year, at an extraordinary meeting of councillors in Pontypool tomorrow morning.
The closure has been the subject of a controversial consultation period, as part of the county's proposals to cut surplus school places and save money.
A report recommended pushing back the proposed date of closure, following suggestions that parents were misled during the initial consultation period over the timing of a closure.
If cabinet members agree with a report by the head of access, engagement and performance John Tushingham and submitted by the interim head of education services, Dermot McChrystal, Pontnewynydd School would close on August 31, 2015.
Every one of the county's schools has been under scrutiny as part of the 21st Century Schools programme, which has seen the authority apply to Welsh Government for cash to build new schools and refurbish existing ones.
Should the proposal go ahead, the majority of pupils currently attending Pontnewynydd Primary School will likely transfer to Penygarn Community Primary School.
Consultation ran from November to December last year, but the council released an updated document in March.
The council received letters from the governors of both schools as well as Abersychan School; Pontnewynydd school council; Paul Murphy MP; Lynne Neagle AM; the Lower Penygarn Community Association; and the union NASUWT Cymru.
Around 35 pupils also wrote to the council as did 22 parents, carers and other interested parties.
Concerns raised included the capacity of Penygarn Primary to accommodate all the pupils; staff issues and whether they will be made redundant; the quality of teaching and learning given the excellent Estyn report Pontnewynydd Primary School last received; traffic congestion in and around Penygarn Primary School; whether the facilities at Pontnewynydd including the TV studio can be replicated at Penygarn; canteen space; safe walking routes; and the accusation that the initial consultation document was inaccurate and biased in favour of Penygarn.
Officers have recommended that members agree to publish statutory notices to close Pontnewynydd Primary School and disperse pupils to neighbouring schools from September 1, 2015.
Members would receive a further report in September 2014 following the end of the statutory notice period with a view to making a recommendation on how to proceed.
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