Ysgol Abersoch

Date: 09/09/2019

A report will be submitted to Gwynedd Council's Cabinet on 17 September seeking permission to enter into formal discussions with the governing body of Ysgol Abersoch. This is due to recent concerns about the school's pupil numbers.

Ysgol Abersoch provides education for children up to the age of eight, with pupils transferring to neighbouring primary schools after year 3.

In January 2019, 12 full time pupils aged between four and eight attended the school, with one nursery age pupil attending the school part time. The current numbers are seven pupils between four and eight years old, and two nursery pupils. The capacity of Ysgol Abersoch is 34.

The most recent Estyn inspection in June 2017 rated the school's performance as 'Good'. The Welsh Government's national school categorisation system places Abersoch in the 'Yellow' category which means it is an 'effective school that is already doing well and knows what areas it needs to improve'.

As a result of the recent fall in the numbers at Ysgol Abersoch, officers from Gwynedd’s Education Department has held an initial meeting with the school's governing body and explained that the low numbers mean that local discussions need to be held to consider future options.

Currently with nine pupils on the register, Ysgol Abersoch is 74% vacant in terms of capacity, which obviously means that the school is in a vulnerable position. September 2018 projections indicate that numbers are likely to remain low over the next few years, with projections indicating that there will be nine pupils on the schools register by September 2021.

Councillor Cemlyn Rees Williams, Gwynedd Council's Cabinet Member for Education, said: "With very low numbers at Ysgol Abersoch at present and the projections (September 2018) predicting that numbers are unlikely to rise over the next few years, we have a duty to consider the situation and see what the best options for the future are.

“Our priority is to ensure that all children in Gwynedd receive the best possible education so that they can achieve their full potential and make the most of the education resources available.

“I would like to make it clear that no decisions have been made about Ysgol Abersoch - what is happening now is a request to discuss possible options for the future. But with numbers having reached their lowest levels in recent school history, it would be irresponsible for us not to look at the situation, for the benefit of pupils and staff.

"If the Cabinet agrees, the Council's Education Department will hold formal meetings with the governors to discuss the options so that we can consider the way forward."

A report will be considered by Gwynedd Council's Cabinet on 17 September. If the Cabinet supports the recommendations, it is expected that formal meetings will be held with governing body and relevant stakeholders in October to consider possible options before the matter is reported back to the Council's Cabinet before the end of the year.