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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 June 2006, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
Pupils call to save small schools
Sophie Wozencraft, aged 13 at the Royal Welsh show
The ACWSS has been campaigning at shows across Wales
Primary pupils from mid Wales have delivered a petition of up to 15,000 names to the Welsh assembly in support of all small schools across Wales.

The Llandinam children were part of a campaign to save their school when it came under threat in 2003.

The Association of Communities in Wales with Small Schools (ACWSS) says schools are vital to keep communities alive.

The Welsh Assembly Government has promised 4.1m funding, but has not ruled out some closures.

Deb Wozencraft, secretary of the ACWSS said: "We need to keep these communities vital and active, and the schools play a part in that.

"We see the loss of rural schools as another vital rural service that's being diminished."

Before any school can be closed, careful thought and planning needs to be undertaken by the LEA
Assembly spokesperson

The head teacher of Llandinam primary school, Michelle Humphreys, said: "When the school was under threat in 2003, the community rallied round and fought a brave campaign.

"They (the children) have a very clear understanding of the issue, really, most of them having been through it three years ago."

The assembly government has said that by 2013 there will be over 100,000 fewer children in schools in Wales.

It said it recognised there will "continue to be a need" for small schools in some rural areas, and is making 4.1m funding available in 2006-07.

Llandinam school aerial view
Llandinam primary school was threatened with closure in 2003

A spokesperson said the priority was to provide education of a "high standard," but it was for local authorities to plan how that was to be achieved.

He said: "The case for any rural school closure has to be robust and the likely impact of closure on local communities and villages is always taken into account.

"The policy towards rural schools is well established, and seeks to strike a balance, supporting and sustaining schools in the challenges they face, but acknowledging that in some cases alternative arrangements, including closure, are in the best interest of learners."

The ACWSS is in partnership with six other organisations, including Merched y Wawr, the Farmers Union of Wales, and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

It is holding an exhibition of its work at the assembly building, the Senedd, on Wednesday, and has also begun an online petition.

Ms Wozencraft said its main aim was to raise enough money to employ a dedicated officer to help communities with small schools under threat.


SEE ALSO
Lifeline for rural school
06 Oct 03 |  North West Wales
Small schools face closure
17 Jul 03 |  Wales

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