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Old pupils help to mark end of an era at school

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: July 09, 2011

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PAST and present pupils of a school due to close next week have joined together to mark the end of an era.

Coelbren Primary School in the Upper Swansea Valley will officially close next Thursday.

It means its six pupils will be transferred to neighbouring Abercraf Primary School.

The school would have closed in 2012 due to a modernisation programme of the schools in the area but it was decided by governors and staff that it would be best to close it early.

Acting head teacher Susan Martin said they decided to hold a special open day, so that members of the community and past pupils could visit the school for the last time.

"A lot of past pupils and members of the community have come back to say goodbye," she said.

"There has been a happy atmosphere, although there was a sad undercurrent.

"The children were kept busy enjoying showing everyone around the classrooms.

"They also had a stall to raise money for Mozambique schools as we have got a link with them."

The open day also featured photographs and memorabilia from the school's history.

"We have got a lot of old photographs which everyone has been enjoying," she said.

"We also have the old school bell that was used in the air raids which people have remembered.

"The bell is now going to be taken either to the local church or welfare hall."

Ms Martin said they wanted to make sure that the children had a really enjoyable last week.

"We are taking them bowling and to the cinema because we don't want their last day to be too sad.

"We have also just taken them to London were we went behind the scenes at the National History Museum which they really enjoyed."

Coelbren Primary has also forged close links with Abercraf Primary to make the transition as easy as possible for the pupils.

"The children are really happy and we have been quite involved with their new school," said Ms Martin.

"They have been asked to join in with their sports day and have been over for lessons."

In a statement, the chairman of governors, the Rev Alun Brookfield, said it was following careful consultation that they decided the school should close.

He said: "The school was already scheduled to close in the summer of 2012 as part of the schools' reorganisation of the Ystradgynlais catchment area.

"The decision to close was felt by everyone concerned to be in the best interests of the small number of remaining students.

"The remaining children will attend Abercraf Primary at the beginning of the autumn term 2011."

As well as Coelbren Primary, Powys County Council approved moves to close nine other schools in Ystradgynlais.

Four new schools will be built in the catchment area, three English and one Welsh medium, at Abercraf, Penrhos, Brynderi and Glanrhyd.

gill.roberts@swwmedia.co.uk

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