Councillors to reconsider rural school closures following Welsh Government advice
A motion to reverse three primary school closures is expected to be discussed at the Powys County Council annual meeting on 26 May.
Cllr Iain McIntosh who has been campaigning to save Cradoc Primary School near Brecon, will put the motion forward.
The motion also asks that the decisions to close Llanfihangel Rhydithon primary school (also known as Dolau) and Llanbedr Church in Wales School are also reversed.
As part of the proposal Cllr McIntosh will also ask that no Powys primary school capable of delivering the new curriculum in Wales is closed during the next five-year council term.
For several weeks before the local election, Cllr McIntosh has been asking for clarity on whether small rural schools could deliver the curriculum or not.
This is because Powys education department staff, advised the cabinet during the decision-making process to close schools, that it would be difficult for small schools to come up with a tailor made curriculum as they didn’t have enough staff to do the work.
Former education portfolio holder, Phyl Davies had answered a question posed to him by Cllr McItosh back in March on this very issue.
Cllr Davies said: “The workload to effectively introduce the new curriculum is a significant challenge.
“In schools with more staff the workload can be spread out.
“That does not mean that smaller schools cannot deliver the new curriculum, but the workload demands on them are significant.”
Cllr McIntosh said: “Following on from the question I wrote to Welsh Government to see what their views were about the curriculum deliverability in small schools.”
Cllr McIntosh has now received answers from the Welsh Government education minister, Jeremy Miles’ Curriculum and Assessment division on the issue.
The Welsh Government’s Curriculum and Assessment division said: “The Welsh Government believes that rural schools can implement the curriculum and want to ensure they have the support they need to do so.
“This is part of the reason we published the journey to curriculum roll out.
“This clearly sets out the steps schools should take towards reform, how to approach those steps, and the support available to them right the way through.
“This will help smaller schools better target their preparations.”
They explained that representatives from small rural schools participated in the design and development of the curriculum framework.
Cllr McIntosh said: “The response from Welsh Government paints a different picture to what is happening here in Powys.
“Is this authority getting the right levels of support to deliver the curriculum in rural schools.”
He has now posed more questions to the education department on this issue.
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