PROPOSALS by a cash-strapped secondary school to close its swimming pool would be damaging to vulnerable children, a swimming club has claimed.

The Maelor School in Penley has written to parents and community groups to seek their views on plans to shut its 20 metre indoor heated pool in a bid to save up to £40,000.

The facility is popular with local primary schools and community groups, including Penguin’s Swim School which teaches between 60 to 80 children at the pool.

Lorraine Penk, who runs the business, said the closure of the pool would have a devastating impact on the youngsters, some of whom have disabilities.

The school on the outskirts of the county, which has 780 pupils, has also proposed restricting the use of its facilities by local sports clubs outside of school time.

Mrs Penk, whose grandson attends the Maelor School, said: “It will definitely impact our viability, previously they closed the pool for refurbishment for six months and we lost everything.

“We have quite a few children with disabilities along with able bodied children.

“We have small class sizes so we can cater for children who struggle in mainstream teaching and we have quite a few with autism who come to us.

“There’s very little in the area, if you go out into the main town there’s plenty, but we’re 30 minutes out so it’s quite a vital thing for the kids to have.

“A lot of pools won’t rent their pool to private swim schools because they have their own council run classes so it’s quite difficult for us to get in elsewhere.”

In 2011 a new sports hall was built at the school, with changing facilities, offices, first aid, storerooms and a dance studio.

Following the completion of the refurbishment work, it said that community use of the pool had increased.

However, headteacher Simon Ellis said the changes had to be considered as governors look to tackle a shortfall in funding.

In a letter to parents, he said: “As with all schools in the local authority area, The Maelor School has had to manage a reduction in real terms funding over the last few years.

“The amounts we have both received from the council and in grants have increased, however they have not kept pace with inflation or core costs.

“The governing body has to prioritise spending over the next few years. The safety and welfare of our pupils, and the quality of their education, remain our priority.

“Together with the senior leadership of the school we have identified a number of cost savings that will not impact on the excellent learning outcomes that our pupils receive; however two of these proposals impact on our wider community and this is why we seek your views.

“Together, these proposals will save the school £30,000-£40,000 per year.”

Parents and community groups have been asked to give their feedback by completing a short online survey by visiting

You can also send your views by writing a letter to The Maelor School, Penley, Wrexham, LL13 0LU. The deadline for responses is Friday 6 July.