Wales' most expensive primary school will soon close its doors for good

Ysgol Gymuned Carreglefn community school was built using bricks from Cemaes Bay
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

Wales' most expensive primary school is set to close its doors. Ysgol Gymuned Carreglefn on Anglesey currently educates just nine pupils at a cost of £17,200 each to Anglesey Council.

This figure is significantly higher than the island's average cost per pupil of £5,240, according to a council report. In a unanimous decision, the Isle of Anglesey County Council's executive has voted for the school's closure this coming summer.

The children will be relocated to Ysgol Gymuned Llanfechell, approximately two miles away. The report highlighted that the school had an 80% surplus in places and noted that out of the nine pupils, four are in their final year of primary school.

READ MORE: Spitfire crashes during Battle of Britain event

READ NEXT: The desperate reality of a family-of-seven all living in a two-bedroom home

Projections indicated that the number of pupils could drop to five or fewer from September 2024. The school has also faced challenges in appointing a permanent headteacher and is currently sharing one with another local school.

"The headteacher is only on the school site for two days per week, whilst the deputy leads the school for the remaining three days of the week," the report detailed. Following the publication of a statutory notice, a 28-day period for objections passed without significant opposition, reports North Wales Live.

The objection period ran from March 1 to April 2, during which eight objections were lodged. Additionally, the pupils were given the opportunity to express their thoughts during a "face-to-face session" held at the school.

A teacher had sent an email to the council, which included an appendix with seven replies from the children, and responses were also received from the governing body. A community council had also communicated its praise for "the good work of the school and staff" but had not objected.

Council representative Dafydd Roberts, in charge of education and the Welsh language portfolio, acknowledged closing a school with less than 10 pupils had been a "simpler process". He voiced his gratitude: "But at the end of a chapter like this, I would like to thank every member of staff, governor, parents and the wider community which has ensured that Ysgol Careglefn has continued over the period."

Gary Pritchard, another councillor, admitted that shutting down schools was "never an easy process". He went on to say: "May I echo those thanks of Cllr Dafydd Roberts, not only to the department and officers but also to the community of the school and the wider community of Carreglefn for the respectful way they have dealt with the process."

He was eager to collaborate with the community to find a future purpose for the now-closed school building. The sentiment was shared by Cllr Carwyn Jones, who added: "I'd like to echo those thanks to the staff for their work over the years, and thank the school for giving opportunities to the young people over the years, I wish them well for the future, and thanks also to the governors for their work over the years supporting the school.

"I know the feeling, when I sat here in 2013 as a governor and the local member for Llanddona, the school closed with 13 children. What we did then, as a community we came together to see what we could do for Llanddona, for the future, and in 2019 we opened the new community centre for the village.

"It has been good for Llanddona, so as one door closes...maybe it's time for the community to think what other doors we can open in the future."

Council leader Cllr Llinos Medi, who represents the area, also mentioned that the community had engaged in "respectful discussion" and understood the decision "because there would be only five children there in September". She further stated that discussions would continue with the community about resources and how to maintain community activities in the village.