MOUNTON House special school will close after senior councillors in Monmouthshire voted unanimously for the contentious proposal.

Cabinet members decided to go ahead with closure of the school, in Pwllmeyric, near Chepstow, despite opposition by 88 per cent of those who responded to a public consultation.

The school - which caters for boys aged 11-16 with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties - is now set to close at the end of August next year.

Council bosses say the school is no longer in a “fit for purpose condition” and does not meet the needs of a wide enough range of Monmouthshire pupils with additional learning needs.

At the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, council leader, Cllr Peter Fox, said closing the school would allow the authority to plan to provide a wider provision in the future.

Councillor Fox said the school is currently “not sustainable and not in the interests of those few learners there.”

“Sometimes you do have to take these very difficult decision,” Cllr Fox said.

Will McLean, chief officer for children and young people, provided assurances that the 15 pupils currently at the school would be provided with specialist education.

Those at Key Stage 3 will be placed in specialist provision, while the council’s Pupil Referral Unit will meet the needs of Key Stage 4 pupils.


Councillor Richard John, cabinet member for children and young people, said the school’s remit is “no longer compatible with the needs of Monmouthshire.”

With just eight pupils from Monmouthshire attending the school, Cllr John said the cost equates to £131,000 per placement for the local authority.

Councillor Bob Greenland said economic arguments were “secondary” and that his decision was based on “what is best for the children there at the moment and as we move forward.”

“No one likes to see a school closing but I think it has outlived its purpose,” Cllr Greenland said.

“I think we can do better for the children with additional learning needs right across the spectrums in the future than the current way we are providing.”

But councillor Tudor Thomas, chairman of the council’s children and young people select committee, urged the cabinet to consider an option to change the type of provision on offer at the school.

Councillor Thomas said changes should have been made earlier, saying that staff had been “almost set up to fail.”

A plan to expand provision at the school site was considered by the council last year, but it was abandoned due to estimated costs of £6.4million.

Notices of the school’s closure, on August 31, 2020, will now be published.