A CAMPAIGN group has been formed to fight the threat of closing a rural Welsh medium primary school at Pen-y-Bont Fawr in the Tanat Valley.

Ymgyrch Achub Ysgol Pennant (Campaign to save Pennant School) will lead the fight to stop the school’s closure.

The council's Independent/Conservative cabinet agreed to put together a business case for the reorganisation of the Llanfyllin catchment area in September last year – with the closure of the 82-pupil school for Penybontfawr, Llangynog, Hirnant and Llanwddyn part of its plans.

Now campaigners have set up a group aimed at opposing the plans.

Lucy Worthington, chair of Ymgyrch Achub Ysgol Pennant, said: “The support from the whole community has been incredible – we are all committed to fighting this flawed plan and process which we believe would have a devastating effect on the growth of the Welsh language as well as taking the heart out of our close-knit community.”

The group has been working with Welsh language pressure group Cymdeithas Yr Iaith, and the Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts, and has met with politicians including Russell George MS, Craig Williams MP and Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, Plaid Cymru’s Senedd Election Candidate in Montgomeryshire, to voice their concerns.

Ms Worthington added: “We are concerned that a proposal paper identifying and evaluating all the alternative options to closing the school may not have been produced and that PCC may therefore have not complied with the School Organisation Code.

“We are passionate about the importance of Welsh language education and the growth of the language – however, rather than encourage the language to flourish, we feel that these plans would have a negative effect and endanger the growth of the language in our area.”

She also believes due to travelling patterns it’s unlikely that parents would take their children to Llanrhaeadr-yn-Mochnant primary school.

Rhian Briscoe, a member of YAYP representing Cylch Meithrin Penybontfawr, said: “As Welsh medium early years specialists the cylch meithrin  is a fundamental part of the immersive experience that enables children of all backgrounds to become fully bilingual in Wales.”

Powys Council's preferred option is that a new Welsh medium primary school would be established at Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant Primary School, with an expectation that pupils from Ysgol Pennant would go there.

If this happened it is likely that Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant would need an extension to the school building

It had been expected that the Llanfyllin catchment area proposals would have been back in front of the cabinet in December.

A spokesman for Powys County Council, said: “A report on the Llanfyllin catchment area will be considered by cabinet next month  (March).”

Before any final decision are made  proposals would be subject to a “full and transparent consultation” with all schools and communities.