1. ITV Report

Rural schools in Anglesey at risk of closure as council makes savings

Credit: ITV Wales

Rural schools in Anglesey are at risk of closure as the council tries to save money from its budget

In Anglesey, there are currently 17 primary schools on the island with fewer than 120 pupils whose futures are under review by Anglesey Council. The council say the review is due to a need to make savings of £9m and difficult decisions will have to be taken.

At Ysgol Bodffordd Primary School, parents say they will resist any plan to close their children's school. A petition against closing the school has gathered 5,000 signatures.

Credit: ITV Wales

Speaking outside the school, one parent described the school as 'heart of the community.'

'Without the school, we have nothing,' she added.

Parents are now pinning their hopes on new rules set out by the Welsh Government to make it harder for local authorities to close rural schools.

Under new Welsh Government rules, councils will have to assess the impact rural school closures will have on children's education, the wider community and travel arrangements.

The Welsh Government say the new rules will be introduced to ensure 'councils and other proposers must do everything they can to keep rural schools open before deciding to consult on their closure.'

Anglesey's Assembly Member, Rhun ap Iorwerth, is calling for more funding to be made available for rural schools, saying councils across Wales are in an 'impossible' situation.

I sympathise with councils the length and breadth of Wales who want to provide the best education for children and are being told by the Welsh Government to make schools bigger in order to drive up standards, we're not going to give you any more money and by the way we don't want you to close schools either. It's an impossible situation.

– Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, Plaid Cymru

The Welsh Government say they will be making more money available for rural schools.

We're providing £2.5m a year through a new small and rural schools grant to encourage innovation and support schools to work together. This is essential for their long-term viability."

– Welsh Government spokesperson