Llanelli’s MP, Nia Griffith, and MS, Lee Waters, have called on Plaid Cymru run Carmarthenshire County Council to extend the consultation period on its controversial proposal to close Welsh-medium Ysgol Mynyddygarreg in Kidwelly so that the local community has more time to have its voice heard.
Under the plans, Ysgol Mynyddygarreg is set to close at the end of August this year with pupils transferring to Ysgol Gwenllian instead. The public consultation was launched earlier this month and is due to end on February 22nd but has come in for criticism from parents and local residents due to it being held in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
NIA GRIFFITH, Member of Parliament for Llanelli, said:
“This is a massively important decision that will affect the future of education in the area for generations to come. Local people and those who rely on the school must have every opportunity to have their voice heard.
Staff and governors at the school are extremely busy at the moment just trying to keep things going as normally as possible. As a result of the pandemic and the current lockdown, parents are also under the cosh now that they have to do their best to support their children’s home learning as well.
To have this consultation come at such a difficult time is not helping and the onus is now on the Plaid Council to be more sympathetic and extend the period for people to respond to the closure plan and give them more of a chance to get their views across before any decisions are made.”
In 2018, Welsh Government guidelines were changed so that there was a presumption against the closure of small rural schools. Council’s must now explain why closure is the ‘most appropriate’ course of action, with Education Secretary Kirsty Williams saying that all viable alternatives should be considered first.
LEE WATERS, Llanelli’s Member of the Senedd, added:
“A little bit of flexibility from the Council on this would go a long way in enabling everyone who will be affected by the plans to get all the information they need to respond properly. Just a few weeks extra will make a huge difference and allow for local people to make a more informed contribution.
“I don’t think that the community is asking for much, especially given the magnitude of the proposals and the exceptional circumstances that we all find ourselves in at the present time. It will also be key that when the time comes for the consultation responses to be considered that concerns raised are answered in as much detail as possible, taking into account the need to provide the best quality education for all existing and future pupils.”