Protest over plans to shut vil­lage school

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

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.”

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