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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 21:41 GMT
Public meeting on school closures
Parents gather outside the council offices in Caernarfon in December 2007
Hundreds of people are against the proposals to close schools
About 60 people attended a meeting held by a campaign group formed to fight proposals to close schools in Gwynedd.

The Llais y Bobl (Voice of the People) group was set up after Gwynedd Council announced plans to shut 29 schools.

It has organised four meetings to gather public opinion, as it prepares for 30 of its members to stand in upcoming local government elections.

Gwynedd Council said it planned to collect public opinion on the restructuring plans from Thursday.

Council leader Richard Parry Hughes said the draft proposals, along with a questionnaire, could be seen on the authority's website from Thursday.

He said that if the council was to continue to provide the highest possible standard of education for every child, while keeping open as many sustainable community schools as possible, then "scarce resources should be invested in children's education rather than empty spaces and unsuitable buildings".

Under the council's proposals, 29 primary schools will close entirely, while 11 "area" schools will be created, and a further 18 merged to become federal schools on separate sites, but under a single head teacher.

LLAIS Y BOBL MEETINGS
29 Jan - Y Neuadd, Mynytho
30 Jan - Y Neuadd, Rhostryfan
31 Jan - Y Ganolfan, Porthmadog
1 Feb - Ship Hotel, Dolgellau
All meetings to start at 1900 GMT Source: Llais y Bobl

But the plans have angered many people who want their children to remain in their schools and who also say that the closures will leave the future of some villages in doubt.

Speaking at Tuesday's meeting, Llais y Bobl organiser Alwyn Gruffydd said he was confident the new group will manage to attract a sufficient number of calibre candidates.

"It appears to me that people are fed up of what is happening in Gwynedd," said Mr Gruffydd, from Tremadog.

"The business of the schools is still to be resolved, and we need to work out what the next step will be," he said.

Llinos Merks from Nefyn, who plans to stand in the election said the meetings were an opportunity to listen to public opinion.

Another Llais y Bobl candidate, Gethin Williams from Bont-ddu near Dolgellau, said the county would see a "political earthquake" in the May elections.

"The electorate know that success for Llais y Bobl in the polls is the only realistic way of safeguarding Gwynedd's rural schools and retain public services," he added.



SEE ALSO
Protests ahead of school meetings
12 Dec 07 |  North West Wales
Q&A: Gwynedd's schools review
19 Oct 07 |  North West Wales

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