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Last Updated: Monday, 30 July 2007, 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK
Row over plans to axe six schools
Save Carno school sign
Parents and governors have vowed to fight the closure proposals
A farming leader claims rural communities in Powys will be damaged if a council presses ahead with plans to close six small schools.

Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) president Gareth Vaughan said they were the "focal point of village life".

Powys Council described the comments as "misguided and unhelpful", and said it could not safeguard the past.

Six schools are facing closure after a council review found that there were more than 4,000 surplus primary places.

A Powys Council spokesman said the authority had to provide a service "fit for the 21st Century".

He added: "Farming union claims that closing small schools will damage rural communities are misguided and unhelpful.

'Tackle the problem'

"Regrettably, the FUW is focussing on bricks and mortar, physical locations and not on quality of education and a fair distribution of resources across the county.

"Unless we tackle the problem of surplus school places we will be wasting millions of pounds that could be re-invested in education."

The FUW has urged the Welsh Assembly Government to prevent the closure of schools in Carno, Llanwddyn, Llangurig, Howey, Llanfihangel and Pontneathvaughan.

It announced its support for the newly-created Powys Community Schools Action Group at the Royal Welsh Show last week.

FUW president Mr Vaughan said: "They (schools) are far more than just bricks and mortar - they are a living, breathing part of the community.

"Schools are not only places where our children are educated - in most cases they also play an important role by playing host to a range of community events, from whist drives to concerts."

The future of the six schools will be decided in September.

The earliest date for closures is expected to be in August 2008.


SEE ALSO
Under threat school talks staged
13 Jul 07 |  Mid Wales
Protests at school closure plans
12 Jun 07 |  Mid Wales
Schools face new closure threat
19 Jan 06 |  Mid Wales
Councillors back schools review
03 Jan 06 |  Mid Wales
New review for village schools
09 Jun 05 |  Mid Wales

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