Covid-19 has shown dangers of closing small rural schools, campaigners say
Language campaigners have said that closing rural schools should be put on hold as Covid-19 has shown the dangers in larger, centralised institutions.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that councils should also consider reopening closed schools in order to provide children with a safer learning environment.
Only around a third of pupils will be allowed at any one time when Welsh schools reopen from 29 June.
Children will only be allowed to mix in groups of up to eight, will have to stay in the same room when indoors and keep 2m apart.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that Covid-19 had shown that large, centralised schools that required children to take the bus were now “wholly unsuitable”.
“‘The Covid-19 pandemic makes it clearer than ever that rural schools are assets that ought to be treasured, and that plans to centralise schools ought to be dropped, as such plans threaten rural communities,” Ffred Ffransis, Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s spokesperson on rural schools said.
They have written to the leader of Ynys Môn County Council, Cllr Llinos Medi, urging the Council to shelve plans to close village schools on the island as a matter of urgency.
“Not only should our local village schools be treasured and developed in the autumn term, but the Council should also consider, temporarily at least, reopening more schools or village halls in order to avoid unnecessary travel for children, which would ensure that children are able to learn in safe environments,” the letter says.
“There is a serious need for Ynys Môn County Council to listen to the island’s residents and commit to support, not destroy, our communities.”
The letter calls on Ynys Môn Council specifically to build a new building for Ysgol Corn Hir in Llangefni as a matter of urgency, for “safety as well as educational reasons”, emphasising that the building “would be ready by now had all the arguments over reorganising education have been avoided.”
“During this time of crisis, you could very easily achieve consensus by submitting an amended application for funding as soon as possible to build a new school for Corn Hir and for a modification for Ysgol y Graig – and this would be for an increasing number of children in the Llangefni town itself,” the letter says.
“At the same time you could provide assurances regarding the future of Ysgol Bodffordd (which is full and in need of an extension) and Ysgol Talwrn (which is only four below capacity).”
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