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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Protest over school closure plan
Some of the protesting parents from Mynyddcerrig and Bancffosfelen schools, picture supplied by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg
Campaigners are against the school closure programme
Parents at six, small Welsh language village schools in Carmarthenshire have staged a protest at the start of 'Walking To School' week.

The schools are all threatened with closure under council reorganisation.

Protesters said they wanted to show how impractical it would be for children to walk to new "super" schools.

Carmarthenshire Council said it was keen to promote the Safe Routes to Schools initiative but only where there was no danger to pupils.

The authority has a 10-year programme, aimed at reducing 5,000 surplus places and improving school buildings that could see up to 32 schools closed and replaced with new area "super schools".

The shared responsibility of the authority with parents regarding the safe passage of children to schools has not changed.
Vernon Morgan, Carmathenshire Council

Monday's protests were organised jointly by the Welsh Language Society/Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg and campaigners, the Primary Schools Forum in Carmarthenshire.

They are fighting the reoganisation plans.

Groups of parents at Bancffosfelen, Carway, Maesybont, Mynyddcerrig, Mynyddygarreg, and Ponthenri schools dropped their children off, then walked to the sites of the proposed area schools which will replace them.

Angharad Clwyd, Cymdeithas' field officer, who joined around 10 parents on the protest walk from Carway school, said they experienced a couple of near- misses during the 40 minute walk.

"We want to show how impractical it would be for small children and parents with push charis to walk along these roads to and from schools," said Ms Clwyd.

"Some of the parents were saying it would be impossible to get their children to school - they only had a car used by their husband or the could not afford bus fares.

Safe passage

Ms Clwyd said the action of the parents was being supported by other parents at threatned schools in Ffairfach, Capel Iwan and Llansadwn in the county.

"It would be too dangerous for the parents to walk along the roads near these schools," she added.

Carmarthenshire's education director Vernon Morgan said: "The shared responsibility of the authority with parents regarding the safe passage of children to schools has not changed.

"Those children of compulsory school age below eight years of age are provided with free transport if they live more than two miles from their local school.

"Children above eight years are provided with free transport if they live over three miles.

"The county, through its transport department, is keen to promote the Safe Routes to Schools initiative".


SEE ALSO:
Rally at threatened small school
29 Apr 06 |  South West Wales
More rural schools face closure
19 Apr 06 |  South West Wales
Peak protest over closure schools
25 Mar 05 |  South West Wales


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