PROPOSALS to close three Blaenau Gwent primary schools moved a step forward yesterday when councillors and education commissioners voted to start the consultation process.

Briery Hill Primary in Tredegar, Rhos y Fedwen Primary in Rassau, and Blaentillery Primary in Abertillery, could all close in 2014 to help cut surplus places in the borough.

The Argus revealed the proposals last week which are part of the 21st Century Schools programme and would see a £20.25 million investment by the Welsh government in the borough’s schools between 2014 and 2020.

The proposals were presented to Blaenau Gwent council’s executive committee yesterday by Lynn Phillips, the council’s assistant director of education and leisure.

Mr Phillips outlined the council’s current preferred options which would be to close Briery Hill Primary with pupils moving to the new Ebbw Fawr Learning Community and to close Rhos Y Fedwen Primary School with pupils moving to an enlarged Glyncoed Primary.

Future proposals would then look at building a new school at Glyncoed.

The other preferred proposal is to close Blaentillery Primary School and move pupils to Abertillery Primary with funding offered to develop a new school in the area.

Mr Phillips also spoke about proposals to increase Welsh medium education in the borough by creating a class alongside Deighton Primary and federated with Ysgol Gymraeg Brohelyg.

The executive members and education commissioners agreed for an informal consultation process to take place, running from October 22 to December 16.

A report will then be sent back to the committee early next year before a further consultation process.

Education commissioner Bethan Guilfoyle said they want to see responses from parents and learners.

For more information, see blaenau- or email