Protest over plans to shut village school
PROTESTS will be held against plans to close a Vale of Glamorgan primary school and move it five miles down the road.
Vale of Glamorgan Council is planning to shut Llancarfan Primary School and move it to a new 210-place “super-primary” in Rhoose, near Barry.
But worried parents in Llancarfan are opposing the move and will be joined by Vale MP Alun Cairns at a public meeting and protest against the plans in the village hall at 10.30am today.
Matthew Valencia, spokesman for Llancarfan School Action Group, which is leading the protest against the plans, said people were worried about what the school’s closure would mean for the area.
Mr Valencia, who has a son in Year Five at the school, said: “There is a lot of strong feeling in the community. It’s a very close-knit community and the school is woven into the fabric of the community. We’re trying to save the school and continue that.
“The school has a small-school ethos and there is no way they can replicate that if they went to a bigger school in Rhoose.
“It would certainly have a negative impact on the community and make it a less vibrant community.”
The new £4m school is being proposed as 350 new homes are being built at Rhoose Point.
The Rhoose Point Development is expected to increase demand in the area by 70 places for nursery-age children, 194 places for primary-age children, of whom 162 are likely to require English-medium provision, and 174 places for secondaryage children.
But parents in Llancarfan are concerned about how their children would reach the new school, according to the campaigners.
The Vale council has said it would provide transport, like a minibus or taxi, for Llancarfan Primary pupils who live more than two miles from the new school site.
Parents are also said to be concerned that Llancarfan Primary’s feeder-school links to Cowbridge Comprehensive School would not be kept following the move. However, the council said the feeder-school links would be maintained for all current pupils – although this could change for future pupils.
Mr Cairns is expected at the meeting, while Llancarfan Primary pupils past and present will also be at the hall wearing red, the school colour, to lead the protest.
Mr Valencia said there was still hope that the school can be saved.
He said: “We still think there’s a very strong argument for keeping the school on education grounds.
“Is it better for them to be in Llancarfan or to move to the new school? We don’t see the argument that things would be better in terms of educational outcomes for the children.”
If plans are approved, the new school could be open in September 2021.
The catchment areas of Llanfair Primary School, St Athan Primary School, Rhws Primary School and St Nicholas Primary School would also be changed if the new school is built.
Parents can have their say as part of the council’s consultation into the changes, which lasts until Friday.
Councillor Bob Penrose, Vale of Glamorgan Council cabinet member for learning and culture, said: “The council has committed to provide specialist education transport as it does for many children across the Vale of Glamorgan, usually a taxi or small minibus, for any pupils migrating to the new building who live more than two miles from the new school site.
“Our consultation document is clear that all pupils migrating to the new school would retain their feeder links with Cowbridge Comprehensive School, as would their siblings. As the council is required to review and consult on their admission arrangements annually, these arrangements may change for future pupils joining the school after the migration to the new site, if the proposal is accepted.
“The council will, in due course, consider all responses to the consultation process. Given that the consultation process remains ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”