Schools shake-up plan resumes after COVID delay

Ysgol Talwrn

Work has resumed on a controversial shake-up of Anglesey’s primary schools.

The modernisation programme was halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic – but the county council’s chief executive says it cannot be ”delayed indefinitely”.

Last year, plans to close three schools – Ysgol Bodfordd, Ysgol Talwrn and Ysgol Beaumaris – were scrapped when it emerged officials failed to follow Welsh Government guidelines.

Similar proposals were reintroduced in January, but it’s understood the council has now ruled out closing Ysgol Bodffordd as part of its plan for the Llangefni area.

The new plans include closing Ysgol Talwrn and moving pupils to an expanded Ysgol y Graig. A new £10 million site has also been earmarked for Ysgol Corn Hir.

The council’s scrutiny committee and the Anglesey executive is due to discuss the findings of a public consultation in the coming weeks.

Long-delayed plans over the future of primary schools in the Amlwch and Seiriol areas will be considered in due course.

Anglesey Council CEO Annwen Morgan said: ”Responding to the crisis and keeping the people of Anglesey safe still remains at the heart of our day to day work; but a number of important projects – including school modernisation – have been on hold for many months now.”

”Whilst the decision to suspend the school modernisation process in Llangefni was certainly the right decision initially – it cannot be delayed indefinitely – especially as we still have no real understanding of when this crisis will end.”

The local authority argues it will invest £16 million to sustain local education provision in the area for the long term, if the proposals are approved.

Ysgol Bodffordd (Google)

But when the revised plans were first announced, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) accused the council of rehashing proposals to shut Bodffordd and Talwrn.

There were also calls to set up a local foundation, linking Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni with four local primary schools – but these were rejected.

The initial plans to close Bodffordd also led to a formal complaint against the council to the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams.

Councillor Meirion Jones, the Executive member for education, said: ”We want to invest in the future of Anglesey’s children and young people.”

”As part of this programme, we must ensure that they are taught in school buildings which are fit for the 21st century, in the right place, meet both the needs of pupils and staff, help promote high standards and protect the Welsh language.”

”The long term aim of our modernisation programme is to create the best possible educational environment for the future of our children.”

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