SCHOOL SHUT BUT HOPES FOR COM­MU­NITY CEN­TRE

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

A VIL­LAGE has been given hope that its com­mu­nity cen­tre could stay open, de­spite the clo­sure of its pri­mary school be­ing rub­ber stamped by coun­cil­lors.

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, Anglesey Coun­cil’s Ex­ec­u­tive con­firmed the clo­sure of Ys­gol Gy­muned Bodf­fordd, de­spite the statu­tory no­tice re­ceiv­ing 111 let­ters of ob­jec­tion.

As a re­sult, both Bodf­fordd and Corn Hir schools will now shut when a 360-pupil “su­per school” opens its doors in Llangefni.

With con­struc­tion set to be­gin as early as May 2019, the site of the school will be near the junc­tion of Cild­wrn Road B5109 & B4422, not far from the ex­ist­ing Ys­gol Corn Hir.

But, while the plans have been broadly wel­comed within Llangefni, due to the cramped and dated con­di­tions at Ys­gol Corn Hir, the same can­not be said for Bodf­fordd.

There, the com­mu­nity has bat­tled hard to keep its vil­lage school open, which, with over 80 pupils and close to ca­pac­ity, also houses the com­mu­nity cen­tre known as ‘Y Ganol­fan’.

But coun­cil­lors con­firmed that dis­cus­sions are un­der way which could see the vil­lage take over the Ganol­fan.

Cllr Bob Parry, a lo­cal mem­ber for Canol­barth Môn, said: “The Ganol­fan is the heart of the vil­lage and I know there’s a lot of con­cern re­gard­ing what will hap­pen to it. I’ve at­tended the last two com­mu­nity coun­cil meet­ings and it’s been de­cided to hold a pub­lic meet­ing in the new year to find out if it’s pos­si­ble to pur­chase the build­ing.

“Los­ing the school will be a blow, of course, but I’m con­fi­dent that the new school will also be a nat­u­ral Welsh­s­peak­ing one.”

Cllr Alun Mum­mery, added: “I’m pleased that ef­forts are un­der way to keep the Ganol­fan open.

“It’s vi­tal when we’re talk­ing about any school clo­sures, like Pen­mynydd and Lland­dona, that some le­gacy is left.”

Ed­u­ca­tion port­fo­lio holder, Cllr Meirion Jones, sought to re­as­sure par­ents that there were pos­i­tives to be had from a new school and that, while clo­sure was “never an easy de­ci­sion”, it was not one the au­thor­ity had taken lightly.

But lan­guage pres­sure group, Cymdei­thas yr Iaith Gym­raeg, has urged the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene, de­spite Anglesey Coun­cil be­ing adamant that it has taken into con­sid­er­a­tion the new Schools Or­gan­i­sa­tion Code which re­cently came into force.

Ffred Ffran­sis urged ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, Kirsty Wil­liams, to in­ter­vene “to save the cred­i­bil­ity” of her strat­egy to give new hope for ru­ral schools.

“If it is pos­si­ble for a lo­cal au­thor­ity to bla­tantly ig­nore all statu­tory guide­lines and close a Welsh-medium vil­lage school which is full, and, in the process, risk the clo­sure of the only com­mu­nity cen­tre which is part of the build­ing, then no ru­ral schools in Wales are safe,” he said.

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