A new primary school is set to be built in Ceredigion which will see three existing schools closed after the local council struck a deal to purchase nearly six acres of land.
The provision of primary education between Lampeter and Abirairon has been a controversial topic for years, with four proposals for an amendment being made in 2016.
In December 2019, Ceredigion Council confirmed it would go ahead with plans to close three primary schools within a three-mile radius – Ysgol Ciliau Parc, Ysgol Felinfach and Ysgol Dihewyd – which have about 150 pupils between them.
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Now, five years after the proposals were first put on the table, land has been purchased in the village of Felinfach, right next to the village football club and changing rooms. According to the board, which confirmed the purchase on Tuesday, there was an appetite among stakeholders to build the new district school in a new location, rather than on the Villenefach Theater campus as was raised in one of the options under consideration.
The decision to close the three smaller primary schools in the area was met with some criticism when it was announced in 2019. Some argued that “the counseling process was flawed because it offered no choice to parents” and that it “completely ignored” people’s opinions.
Others said that the consultation process was “confusing” and that they were left “sad that a small school will be replaced by a large school.”
The Ceredigion Board stressed, however, that “all options presented during the engagement exercise were included in the consultation document” and that parents’ views had been taken into account.
Catherine Miles, Cabinet member responsible for Schools, Lifelong Learning, Skills, Support and Intervention, said Monday: “I am delighted to see that the Council has successfully purchased this site for the new district school. The new school will provide state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for primary students and will certainly be a rich addition to Iron Valley. “.
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The council will now embark on the next phase of the project which will include the establishment of the shadow management body for the new school.
As for the construction schedule, in 2019 Ysgol Ciliau Parc, Ysgol Felinfach and Ysgol Dihewyd were supposed to close their doors for the last time at the end of next summer (2022). However, a 15-month construction time for the new building has also been discussed, raising doubts as to whether it will actually be ready for the start of the 2022/23 school year next September.
The council has not yet responded to questions about the timetables, but has previously confirmed that pupils will remain in their existing primary schools if there is a delay in the construction of the new school.
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