Campaigners in last ditch plea to stop closure of Welsh language school in holiday home hotspot
Language campaigners have issued a last ditch plea not to close of Welsh language school in holiday home hotspot.
Just shy of its 100th birthday after opening in 1924, Ysgol Abersoch will shut its doors at the end of 2021 if approved by the council’s cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday.
If members approve the officers’ recommendation, the eight full time and two nursery pupils would be provided with free transport to Ysgol Sarn Bach from January.
But Cymdeithas yr Iaith have called on the council not to “turn their backs on the local community” in Abersoch by closing the village school.
In a letter to each Cabinet member, Ffred Ffransis said that keeping the school open would be a “statement that the Welsh language belonged to every person in Abersoch in the future, whatever their background.”
Cymdeithas favours keeping the school open as an ‘Ysgol Traeth’ (Beach School) which would be available for us to the other schools in the area.
They have asked the council to postpone its final decision until Easter in order to fully explore the alternatives.
The campaign comes amid claims that closure would leave the holiday home hotspot as a “ghost town” for chunks of the year.
A recent consultation attracted over 200 responses as well as two separate petitions, each containing 1,115 and 1,884 signatures against shutting the school.
One respondent claimed that leaving Abersoch without a primary school would result in it becoming “a holiday place for tourists for a few months a year and a ghost town for the remainder.”
Another said, “without the school Abersoch has no focal point, the very heart and soul will have disappeared.”
According to number crunchers the school currently costs the authority £17,404 per head – over four times the county average of £4,198.
The school can hold 32 but is operating at only a quarter of its capacity despite the village having a full-time population of 783, with projections showing that pupil numbers would grow only slightly over the coming years.
Also, it was stated that of the 26 eligible children living in the catchment area, 21 were currently being educated at schools other than Abersoch.
Additional reporting by the local democracy service.