Pa gynlluniau sydd gan y Gweinidog i gryfhau rheoliadau i amddiffyn ysgolion gwledig rhag cael eu cau?
Local authorities are responsible for planning school places. They must ensure that there are sufficient schools providing primary and secondary education for their area. Schools are regarded as sufficient if they are sufficient in number, character and equipment to provide for all pupils an appropriate education.
The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 provides the legislative framework for school reorganisation. The 2013 Act requires the Welsh Ministers to issue a School Organisation Code. The Code imposes requirements to which relevant bodies (the Welsh Ministers, local authorities, governing bodies and other proposers) must comply and statutory guidance to which they must have regard. The Code can be found at the following link: school-organisation-code-second-edition.pdf (gov.wales)
When proposing significant changes to schools, including opening, closing and making regulated alterations to schools, proposers must comply with the 2013 Act and the School Organisation Code and must take into account a range of factors; the prime consideration being the interests of learners.
The Code sets a high standard for consultation, ensuring that all those with an interest have an opportunity to make their views known and have their views taken into account.
The Code was strengthened in 2018, establishing a procedural presumption against the closure of rural schools. This requires proposers to follow a more detailed set of procedures and requirements in formulating a rural school closure proposal and in consulting on and reaching a decision as to whether to implement a rural school closure proposal.
When considering bringing forward a proposal which involves a school closure, local authorities must check if it is included on the list of schools designated as rural in the Code. If so, the further procedures and requirements apply.
A presumption against closure of rural schools does not mean that rural schools will never close, however the case for closure must be strong and not taken until all viable alternatives have been explored.
The Code is kept under review. There are currently no plans to amend it at this time.