SCHOOLS in Malpas and Bettws look set to escape the axe as a city council cabinet member recommends that they stay open.

Malpas Park and Malpas Court Primary, Bettws' Millbrook Junior, Millbrook Infants, and Monnow Primary schools were earmarked by Newport city council for closure last September because of surplus primary school places in the area.

But yesterday Newport city council's cabinet member Bob Poole recommended they should stay open.

The recommendations would keep Malpas Park and Court as separate schools. Millbrook Junior and Infants, currently two separate schools on the same site, would join together on the same site.

The proposal, however, still includes the original plan to close Don Close Nursery, in Bettws, but suggests attaching new nurseries to Millbrook School and Monnow Infants.

Councillor Poole, cabinet member for young people's services, said: "Newport, like most authorities across Wales, is faced with a difficult situation regarding falling numbers of pupils.

"It is inevitable on such an emotive subject that feelings have been very strong on this issue.

"I have made this recommendation after listening to these views, and thank all those who have made a positive contribution."

The original plan would have seen all the Bettws schools combined in a new building on the Monnow Primary site.

The cabinet's recommendations will now be considered by the full council.