CALLS are being made for education leaders in Ceredigion to disregard any plans to close rural schools and to have a more positive attitude.

Language campaign group, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, has called on Ceredigion Council to treat the county's rural schools with a "positive" attitude instead of as "problems" following concerns over their futures.

In response to a request for support from the Governors of Ysgol Llangwyryfon, the movement contacted Ceredigion Council's Deputy Chief Education Officer, Clive Williams, to emphasise that the council's current approach to handling the future of a number of rural schools in the county was not consistent with its statutory duties under the School Organisation Code (2018).

The Cambrian News understands up to eight schools could be under threat when a review is carried out by Ceredigion County Council later this year.

On behalf of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s Education Group, Ffred Ffransis said: "Not only does the current method of working cause worry and uncertainty for a number of Ceredigion's Welsh language schools and communities, but it also goes against the duties of the county council under the Statutory Code. “The code requires that there be a presumption in favour of rural schools that are on the Government's official list, such as Llangwyryfon school and others, and that closing a rural school should not be considered unless all other options fail.

“The council should therefore be discussing positively with governors how to strengthen the schools, not treat them as problems. The Council should also discuss strategically by area, not try to ‘pick off’ individual schools where they see an opportunity.

"Furthermore, a 'Proposal Paper' for a statutory consultation on any changes should be published at the end of the discussion to try to find ways forward, not towards the beginning of the process."

Ffred Ffransis added: "We understand that local authority officers are currently under a lot of pressure, and so in our correspondence, we have suggested a positive way forward to discuss with governors by area.

“We hope that everyone wants to work towards the same goal of offering an excellent education that will not only lay secure foundations for the pupils, but also strengthen the communities in which the pupils live."

Parents and other residents in Llangwyryfon met earlier this month to discuss the school’s future and vowed to fight any plans to close it.

A Ceredigion County Council spokesperson said: “As part of the authority’s plans to ensure an efficient and sustainable infrastructure for the future we are looking to start the process of reviewing the situation from the point of view of our primary schools.

“At this point in time, it would be inappropriate for us to name schools / number of schools, possible savings etc until the process has officially started and all the stakeholders have been informed through the correct process.

“This is a time of significant challenges for schools and the council, and we want to work together to ensure that we operate as efficiently as possible.”