Fears over future of Flintshire school with 11 pupils

Reporter:

Matt Jones

THE future of a Flintshire primary school, which this year has just 11 pupils, hangs in the balance.

Ysgol Rhes y Cae has seen numbers drop since last year, leading education chiefs to consider its future.

The school, near Holywell, has a capacity of 65 pupils and concerns have been raised over the cost to Flintshire Council to keep the school open.

In the last academic year there were 17 pupils and one nursery school pupil enrolled, but a review carried out because of dwindling numbers was put on hold.

Cllr Nigel Steel-Mortimer, executive member for education, said: “The outcome of last year’s review was to put it on hold. The numbers at that time were 18, I spoke to them and told them to put the numbers up.

“Now that the number is down, we are having further discussions. There are concerns about the cost to the council with the number of pupils.

“There is no issue with the standard of education at the school.”

Discussions are now under way with the school and governors about pupil numbers.

Headteacher Tracy Goodfellow said the goals and vision of the school remains the same regardless of pupil numbers.

She said: “We are open. We want to celebrate that and remind people of that.”

Parent Alina Grecko, of Greenfield, sends her three-year-old daughter to the school’s nursery and hopes she will attend the primary school.

She said: “I am concerned about the situation. I like the school and the teachers there are wonderful. They take good care of my daughter. I know for the council’s economics it does not work.”

She added: “The standards are fantastic.”

Halkyn councillor Colin Legg, a governor at the school, said there were about 60 children in the village but parents were sending them to schools in other villages including Nannerch, Brynford and Lixwm.

He said: “There are less pupils than last year. The school has a very good record. The school has had a rough couple of years. Pupils numbers were up to 50 three years ago.

“The school is very good. At the moment there is almost one-to-one education. We have every confidence in the school. We would like to keep the school going, but if we cannot get the numbers up in a year or two it will be uneconomical and that would not be fair to other schools.

“We want to keep it going for the sake of the village.”

A Flintshire Council spokesman said: “The school currently has 11 pupils on its roll.
“Schools with significant surplus places are subject to review in accordance with the Flintshire School Modernisation Strategy. This would also apply to Ysgol Rhes y Cae.”

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