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'We've been let down sovery badly'.

Byline: By Moira Sharkey South Wales Echo

Campaigners have lost the fight to save a 100-year-old school.

Blaenclydach Infant School, Tonypandy, will close at the end of the summer term.

Parents of the school's 90 pupils, who have campaigned for months to save the school, say they are devastated by the decision.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council proposed the closure as part of a series of measures to reduce surplus places in schools. The final decision to close the school was made by Business Minister Jane Hutt.

The decision was delegated by First Minister Rhodri Morgan. Campaigners accused Mr Morgan of passing the buck and have vowed never to vote for the Labour Party again.

Past pupil, Kathryn Beeke, whose granddaughter Danielle is a pupil at the school, said: 'I can't believe this decision. We feel so let down by the Labour Government.

'We had been directing our campaign to the First Minister but only days ago we found out that it was Business Minister Jane Hutt who was making the decision. This school has been around for 100 years. It is at the heart of this community. The closure is a huge blow to the Tonypandy.'

Nerys Whitter, whose six-year-old daughter Ellie attends the school and younger son attends playgroup, added: 'We are devastated. Every parent and their families have vowed not to vote Labour again. We have been so badly let down. The children do not understand.'

Dad-of-two Andrew Gill said: 'We feel that this decision and the way it was handed over to a less senior minister was underhand.'

The Friends of Blaenclydach campaigned outside the National Assembly Debating Chamber on St Valentine's Day, and outside the Wales Office in Cathays Park last month.

The last pupils of Blaenclydach Infant School will have to move to Cwmclydach Primary or Llwynypia Primary.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: 'When exercising decisions of this kind, ministers are under a public law duty to consider all the relevant information, taking a view on the merits of the proposal without prejudgement. The First Minister was questioned directly on this reorganisation proposal on January 31. Having commented in a way which might be misinterpreted, he felt it would be inappropriate for him to make the decision and as such delegated responsibility for this to Jane Hutt.' SURPLUS PLACES A PROBLEM: Business Minister Jane Hutt gave the go-ahead for the closure of Blaenclydach Infant School to:

Deliver more cost effective primary education in the area;

Remove surplus places in the authority;

And to contribute towards the council's aim of creating, where possible, all-through primary schools.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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