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Town councillors set to respond to school proposals

Town councillors are set to give their response to the consultation by Powys County Council on changes to Treowen Primary School and Ysgol Calon y Dderwen.

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A meeting of Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council to be held on 26/02/24 at 18:30.

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Town councillors are set to give their response to the consultation by Powys County Council on changes to Treowen Primary School and Ysgol Calon y Dderwen.

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The proposed plan outlines two phases: Phase 1 involves closing Treowen C.P. School on August 31, 2025, and extending Ysgol Calon y Dderwen to include the former Treowen site from September 1, 2025. Phase 2 entails relocating Ysgol Calon y Dderwen to a new building on its current site in the 2026/27 academic year and closing the Treowen site.

A working group of town councillors was established to form a response - this group consists of Cllrs Cllr Darryl Gwilt, Rupert Taylor, Mike Childs, and Jackie Molloy- Davies, however due to diary clashes only Cllrs Taylor, Childs, and Molloy-Davies met to discuss the proposals.

Next week, the working group will present their findings to the rest of the town council and ask for their endorsement. In a report to councillors, the group said "We would not be opposed to a long-term model of school mergers but with the proviso of retention of multiple sites to keep advantages of smaller local sites for those who flourish best in small local settings."

Highlighting the prospect of housing growth in the Treowen area, the working group refers to the Local Development Plan, stating "Retaining a local school site will help provide the necessary educational infrastructure to cope with extra housing."

Maintaining a geographical balance across the community is crucial, according to the working group. They argue, "Retaining a school on the Treowen site has the advantage of retaining a geographical balance across the community."

Concerns about the exclusion of Maesyrhandir CP School from the proposal are expressed. The working group suggests, "There seems no over-riding strong case to exclude Maesyrhandir CP school from the proposal over Treowen CP school, and doing so risks leaving it exposed to decline or downgrade in an area of social deprivation."

Regarding Phase 2, the working group strongly opposes site mergers, stating, "It would be strongly opposed to site mergers and loss of the advantages of small sites for those pupils who flourish best in small settings."

Traffic congestion concerns are raised, particularly on Park Street, if the new school is located on the existing Ysgol Calon y Dderwen site.

Expressing uncertainty about extra funding for the new build at Ysgol Calon y Dderwen, the working group emphasises that "extra funding for a new build at Ysgol Calon Y Dderwen may not be guaranteed, so it is not clear what the situation would be if funding were not available."

In terms of alternative options, the working group proposes a model encompassing all three schools - stating that "For those reasons it prefers to offer an alternative model of one school, comprising Treowen, Ysgol Calon Y Dderwen, and Maesyrhandir, able to serve all pupils equally but operating over three existing sites." They argue that this approach provides better choices and support for pupils who thrive in small settings.

It will be up for the all town councillors to formally accept or reject those recommendations from the working group and for them to be submitted to the consultation.

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