Past and present pupils mark closure of school

Pupils past and present from Blaentillery Primary School put on an end-of-term concert before the school closes for good. Pictured from left Deputy Head Teacher Rhiannon Blunsdon and Head Teacher Dean Taylor. (7936244)

Pupils past and present from Blaentillery Primary School put on an end-of-term concert before the school closes for good. Pictured ready for the performance is Luke Mitchell. (7936384)

Pupils past and present from Blaentillery Primary School put on an end-of-term concert before the school closes for good. Pictured are parents and teachers watching the performance. (7936443)

Pupils past and present from Blaentillery Primary School put on an end-of-term concert before the school closes for good. Pictured giving a solo singing performance is former pupil Alex Jones, now studying law at Swansea University. (7936579)

Pupils past and present from Blaentillery Primary School put on an end-of-term concert before the school closes for good. Pictured on stage are pupils from year 7. (7936762)

Pupils past and present from Blaentillery Primary School put on an end-of-term concert before the school closes for good. Pictured on stage is former pupil Lucy Aldred now at Abertillery Comprehensive School. (7936923)

Pupils past and present from Blaentillery Primary School put on an end-of-term concert before the school closes for good. Pictured on stage is former pupil Jamie-Lee Preece now at Abertillery Comprehensive School. (7937062)

First published in News

A BLAENAU Gwent primary school which will close at the end of this term celebrated its long-standing history as a hub of the community yesterday.

Around 50 parents attended the farewell concert at Blaentillery Primary School which saw current and past pupils performing together.

The school will officially be closing on August 31 and pupils from September will attend Abertillery Primary which is one mile away.

Dean Taylor, headteacher at Blaentillery Primary School and Abertillery Primary, said: “It’s a celebration of the school as it will be officially closed at the end of August. The building will still be used as key stage two pupils will be based here.

“The concert celebrated the history of Blaentillery Primary, past pupils and members of staff and past members of staff have all come together.

“It’s a mix of emotions, it will be great for us when we open the new building in two years’ time.”

Pupils led a ‘Blast from the Past’-themed concert which included Don’t Stop Believing by Journey and a performance by Alex Jones, a past pupil who is studying law at Swansea University.

Judith Cleaves, retired headteacher who worked at the primary school for 16 years, said: “It’s really great that past pupils could come back and celebrate with us. For such a small school we have lots of talent.

“Today is a celebration with a hint of sadness. The school is still closing but it will be used for the next two years. The children have enjoyed visiting the archives and learning about what school life used to be like 100 years ago.”

She added: “It’s a new chapter for the pupils. It will be sad when it closes altogether but for now it has a new lease of life“It is a hub for the whole community.”

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said the proposals are part of the 21st Century Schools programme and aim to raise standards and make better use of resources.

The school has the capacity to take 127 pupils but currently has 56 pupils. The Welsh Government wants to reduce the number of surplus places by 15 per cent by 2015.

A petition was started to save the school by the Blaentillery Parents Action Group in 2012 which gained more than 300 signatures.

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