Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 14:25 UK

School shuts after numbers fall

Ysgol Ysbyty Ystwyth
Ysbyty Ystwyth school opened in 1878

A 130-year-old village school in Ceredigion has closed after staff and parents feared dwindling pupil numbers would affect the children's education.

Ysbyty Ystwyth primary school, near Tregaron, had just 11 pupils and was to lose one of its two teachers next year.

Head teacher Lenora Davies feared this could lower the high standards and affect pupils, and she claimed the school was earmarked for closure.

At a meeting on Monday parents and staff decided to close the building.

Just 48 hours later Ysbyty Ystwyth's 11 pupils started lessons at Llanafan primary school, which is about four miles away (6.4km).

Meanwhile, Ceredigion council said a decision about the school's future would be made after a consultation period with the community.

A classroom at Ysbyty Ystwyth school
Chairs were being stacked at Ysbyty Ystwyth school

Head teacher Mrs Davies said her school would have probably closed because it had so few pupils.

Mrs Davies added: "No-one wanted the school to close, but it's better it's on our terms rather than those of the council.

"We also feared standards would drop because the only other teacher was due to lose her job next Easter.

"We wanted to avoid the heartache and anguish of a long drawn out closure of the school, with lengthy meetings and consultation periods. It's better for all concerned that it's done quickly.

"The school has always laid on plays and events and with just 11 pupils that would difficult, and some pupils would not have been with others the same age."

'Unanimously'

Mrs Davies, who is due to retire in the coming months, said she had been thinking about the future of the school for a few weeks, but only decided to press ahead with plans to close it a few days ago.

Ceredigion council met staff, governors and parents on Monday.

A spokesman said pupil numbers at Ysbyty Ystwyth had "dropped significantly over the summer period", and consequently the remaining parents had decided "unanimously to move their children to a nearby school".

At the school on Wednesday, chairs were being stacked and pot, pans, cups and saucers were being transferred to Llanafan primary school.




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