Ysgol Talwrn to close: councillors agree school merger

Ysgol Talwrn will be closed and merged with another primary school in Llangefni.

Anglesey Council’s executive has voted to transfer pupils to Ysgol y Graig, where a new £4.8 million block will be built to accommodate infants.

More than a thousand people signed a petition against plans to close the school – and a scutiny committee on the council was split about the proposals. There are currently 43 pupils at Talwrn – just six short of its capacity.

But education officials claim the number of empty places will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.

After Monday’s meeting, Councillor Meirion Jones said maintaining the status quo was not sustainable: ”The decision to close Ysgol Talwrn is taken with a heavy heart, but we have a duty to act in the best interests of the whole of Anglesey.”

”Through our schools’ modernisation programme, we want to provide education of the highest standards for children across the whole county. To do that, we must make the best possible use of the funding provided by Welsh Government now.”

In April, the council executive approved the closures of two other primary schools – Ysgol Bodffordd and Ysgol Corn Hir – in favour of a new school in Llangefni.

Council leader Llinos Medi warned the local authority would ”not shy away from taking difficult decisions” about modernising the island’s schools: ”We understand that this will be a very sad day for the community of Talwrn…we will adhere to the principles of the 21st Century schools and education programme.”

”By investing in the future of our children, we will ensure that they are taught in schools which are fit for purpose, in the right place, and meet both their needs and those of the staff. This will help us raise educational standards and protect the Welsh language.”

According to education officials, the average cost per pupil on Anglesey – £3,972 – is the third highest in Wales, with costs at Ysgol Talwrn running at around £4,447 and costs for Ysgol y Graig at £3,395.

Both schools faced combined maintenance costs of £369,000 – with Talwrn facing further costs as the building nears the end of its working life.

Officials say they are confident merging the two schools would not have a negative effect on standards as the current performances of both was similar.

At the Executive meeting, Canolbarth Môn councillor Dylan Rees, who campaigned against the closure of Ysgol Boddfordd, warned that the move would not reduce empty spaces – and that the detrimental impact of the closure ”cannot be underestimated”.

But Councillor Bob Parry, said he backed the move ”with a heavy heart”, arguing that the building was old-fashioned and was kept open because of pupils from outside the catchment area. He said the child’s education should also be the main factor.

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