Final plea to keep Cwrt Sart Comprehensive School open
CAMPAIGNERS have made their last plea to the Education Minister to keep their school open in Briton Ferry.
Save Our Cwrt Sart campaign group have submitted their final representations to Huw Lewis, the Minister for Education and Skills, who will be making the final decision on the proposed closure.
Neath Port Talbot Council wants to shut Cwrt Sart Comprehensive School, along with Glan Afan and Sandfields comprehensive schools and Traethmelyn primary.
These would be merged into a super-school on part of the Western Avenue playing fields in Sandfields, costing £40 million.
They are also proposing the creation of a new primary school at the Cwrt Sart site in Briton Ferry, which would replace three primary schools in the town.
Due to objections to the closure of Cwrt Sart, the final say now rests with the Welsh Government.
In a letter to Mr Lewis, Teifion Rees, who chairs the school governors and Save Our Cwrt Sart campaign group, said: "I know that you will appreciate the strength of feeling that exists to retain our school, not only among the members of the school community but equally and in many ways more importantly also among local residents, secular and religious organisations, local representatives and very many people from further afield.
"It is our ardent hope that you will be able to recognise the pivotal and successful role our school plays in both our communities, and it is in the best interests of both our local communities and Neath Port Talbot Council that our school should be retained and enabled to continue to provide a first-class 21st Century education provision."
The campaigners have suggested an alternative proposal, which is to retain the secondary provision at the Cwrt Sart site with a new build for those aged three to 16, and for a new school to be built for Glanafan and Sandfields and local primary provision.
They also propose for Melin Junior School to remain at its current location.
The campaign has been supported by Briton Ferry Council. There have also been 3,000 objection letters and a petition with 6,000 signatures.
Briton Ferry town councillors said they were still fully behind the campaign.
Councillor Hugh James said: "We are now awaiting the decision from the minister. All the petitions and letters have gone. We are unlikely to here before Christmas.
"We are all united on this. We will have to wait and see what happens."
Councillor Roy John added: "The town council has given it full support against the closure of Cwrt Sart."
A Welsh Government spokesman said: "Neath Port Talbot local authority published a notice in June this year for a proposal which included the discontinuance of Cwrt Sart Community Comprehensive School in Briton Ferry.
"Objections have been received and the proposal has been referred to Welsh Ministers to determine.
"The local authority has forwarded to Welsh Ministers information about the proposal, the objections and their responses to the objections. Where possible, we aim to provide a decision within six months of the date of publication of the statutory notice."