FUNDING to improve a Welsh language nursery has been withdrawn because the primary school at which it is based could close as part of a major education shake-up.

Cylch Meithrin Pen-y-Bont Fawr, which is based at Ysgol Pennant primary school in the village of Pen-y-Bont Fawr, was awarded a grant of £200,000 by the Welsh Government to improve its facilities.

It had had been planned to have a new mobile classroom placed on land near the primary school, but this idea was changed, and a proposal to extend the school was put forward.

Work on this idea including surveys happened in the early part of the year, and stopped due to the Covid-19 lockdown in March.

But Powys County Council, which manages the grant, now plans to use the money at nurseries around the county, with the authority's education portfolio holder saying that it would be unwise to commit money to a school which is earmarked for closure as part of the council's transformation of education in the county.

However, Cllr Bryn Davies (Llanwddyn – Plaid Cymru), the chairman of the school governors, wants to see the decision changed or delayed in case the school is not closed, in which case it would still need to finance its expansion.

Clld Davies said: “This is an outrageous decision and a real kick in the teeth to the children, parents, staff of Cylch Meithrin and Ysgol Pennant and the extensive surrounding community.

“I was involved in the planning of the new facility.

Border Counties Advertizer:

Cllr Bryn Davies

“I will not dispute that it would be difficult to justify public expenditure on the early years plan, and the extension to the school in the eventuality that Ysgol Pennant is closed. 

“However, there is many a slip twixt cup and lip and this decision pre-judges the outcome of the forthcoming consultation process in the most egregious manner. ”

Cllr Davies believes that the money should be kept back and used if the school is kept open.

He argues that any decision to justify closing Pen-y-Bont Fawr would need “exceptionally strong justification”.

On Tuesday, September 29, the Independent/Conservative cabinet approved the first wave of school transformation business cases.

If it comes to fruition the proposals in the Llanfyllin area it would see Ysgol Pen-y-Bont Fawr closed and Ysgol Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant become a Welsh medium school – with the expectation that pupils from Pen-y-Bont Fawr would go to Llanrhaeadr.

Education portfolio holder Cllr Phyl Davies (Blaen Hafren – Conservative) said: "Given the decision that was taken, it would be unwise to commit public funding to Cylch Meithrin Peny-Bont Fawr when the future of the school is uncertain.

“I want to stress that no decision has been made.

“Any changes will be subject to statutory reorganisation process which involves extensive consultation with schools and their communities before any decisions are made.”

It is expected that a more detailed proposals for the area will be back in front of cabinet in December which will lead into the consultation process.