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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
School closure critics under fire
Parents protest at school closures in Carmarthenshire
Several protests have been held over school closures in the county
Campaigners fighting the closure of small schools in Carmarthenshire have been accused of "playing politics" with the future of children's education.

The next stage of the county's schools reorganisation programme will see 28m invested this year but includes plans to close two schools and merge others.

The move has been criticised by the Welsh Language Society.

But council leader Meryl Gravell said critics were ignoring the improvements made to teaching facilities.

On Monday the council's executive board, a coalition between Independent and Labour councillors, met to review the progress of its "Modernising Education" programme and to approve the next stage.

They were told more than 10m was spent last year on improving school buildings and a further 27.5m would be spent this financial year at 23 sites.

However consultation will begin on closing Llanarthne and Llansawel primary schools and merging Ammanford Junior and Infants schools and Morfa Junior and Infants schools in Llanelli.

When I go home and sleep at night I know we have not played politics with it
Meryl Gravell, council leader

There will also be reviews of school provision in Burry Port and Pembrey, Whiteland, plus Cefnbrynbrian and Ystrad Owen.

The Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas yr Iaith) accused the council of "having no intention of listening nor consulting over the future of our schools".

The organisation plans a protest at the Urdd Eisteddfod later this month when the festival is staged at Carmarthen.

But council leader Meryl Gravell said critics were ignoring the improvements and trying to use the issue for political gain.

"When I go home and sleep at night I know we have not played politics with it," she said.

And Labour group leader Martin Morris said: "It's about delivering the best facilities that we possibly can.

"They are difficult decisions but we are doing the right thing and we are doing it in a very measured way."

Ffred Ffransis of Cymdeithas said: "It is those who are trying to close the children's schools for the bureaucratic convenience of county hall who are playing politics with their education."


SEE ALSO
Parents lose village school fight
20 Sep 06 |  South West Wales
More rural schools face closure
19 Apr 06 |  South West Wales
Demo over small school closures
08 Dec 04 |  South West Wales
School shake-up details revealed
18 Oct 04 |  South West Wales
Concerns as schools face closure
16 Oct 04 |  South West Wales

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