Yesterday (September 28), the Conservative-Independent Powys County Council Cabinet officially confirmed that they intend to press ahead with plans to close Llanfihangel Rhydithon (Dolau) C.P. School.
The announcement will come as a devastating blow to many of the school’s parents, children, and staff, and other members of the Dolau community, who have been campaigning for the school’s future.
It is part of a wider programme of primary school closures being championed by the Conservative Portfolio Holder for Education and Property, Phyl Davies. Other Powys schools at risk of closure include Cradoc County Primary School, Churchstoke County Primary School, Llanbedr Church in Wales School.
Commenting, Welsh Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Talgarth, William Powell said:
“The Powys County Council Welsh Education Strategic Plan would potentially enable Dolau to play a key role in the delivery of Welsh Government’s ambitious plans for the development of Welsh Language education in Mid Powys. This was a key avenue of questioning at the Learning and Skills Scrutiny Committee – and Dolau School’s premature closure would undermine that opportunity.
“Whilst Cllr James Evans MS (Conservative, Gwernyfed) is right to lament this, it is not enough to comment, as if he were an impotent observer. Cllr Evans is a key member of the Conservative Group that is, in the Powys Cabinet, promoting this act of cultural vandalism in rural Radnorshire.
“If he feels that his Conservative Group on the Council is going rogue, it is for him to act and call them out. The Dolau School Community will expect nothing less.”
Jane Dodds, the Leader for the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Mid & West Wales MS added:
“I am surprised and shocked to hear that the Conservative and independent cabinet has decided to move ahead with the closure of Dolau. This represents a hammer blow to the community which had campaigned so hard to keep the school open.
“This is also a significant blow for Welsh language education in a thriving community. I urge the Conservative-Independent to re-think their education programme which is leading to the unnecessary closure of rural schools throughout Powys.”