Press Release 19/12/03

Bryn Terfel confirms support for threatened Pembrokeshire rural primary school in the village of Hermon. The community of Hermon have now lodged the case with the High Court and are set to make legal history as the small Welsh community takes on the might of the Pembrokeshire County Council who are hell bent on closing all the county’s rural schools with less than 57 children.

Bryn Terfel

Having taken the brave decision to take the local authority to the high court the villagers of Hermon received additional welcome news from Bryn Terfel the renowned international singer. The village had written confirmation that Bryn Terfel would be most happy to add his name to the celebrity supporters of the important campaign. Currently the campaigners have received full support from all celebrities contacted – Cerys Matthews, Rhys Ifans, Mathew Stephens and Mark Delany. The solicitors representing the small community of Hermon has confirmed that the case is an important test case for all threatened rural schools in Wales and will be the first such case to test Welsh local authorities procedures and methods in forcing closures of community schools.

The campaign spokesman Cris Tomos who has a 4 year old daughter at the school explained “the community is determined to save the full to capacity school, where everyone in the village fully backed the move to lodge the court case last Monday 15/12/03. All members of the community are willing to work hard to raise the tens of thousand of pounds needed to underwrite the legal costs.”

Cris went on to explain, “It is ironic that Pembrokeshire County Council has agreed planning permission for 40 new dwellings in the small village and yet are determined to close the primary provision. Also why is our local authority willing to waste so much time and legal expenditure on trying to close the popular school, should they not be devoting the money towards supporting communities in the county? When the community win this case it will be the County Council who will have to pay all legal fees including our legal costs – is this proper use of local government funds and resources?”

Cris added “ Our school is one of the most popular in the area with a waiting list of 4 young children wishing to enter the school in the spring term. But letters received over the past 14 days from the County Council Director of Education – Mr Gerson Davies has seen him block the entry of our local youngsters to the school where their family and friends have been taught, it demonstrates the negative methods of the County Council Officers in seeking to undermine the spirit of our small Welsh speaking community in Hermon”

The inhabitants of Hermon have launched a national appeal to raise the awareness of the plight of small schools and are prepared to take the County Council to the high court in a bid to set precedence to safeguard Welsh rural schools from being threatened in the future and having to take such drastic actions.

Any one interested in supporting the school’s campaign can visit the community website on www.hermonglog.org.uk The inhabitants will need to underwrite the possible legal costs in fighting the High Court Case which could run into tens of thousands of pounds, supporters can donate to the campaign funds either directly into the community bank account or sending donations by posts to Hermon School, Pembrokeshire, SA36 0DT. The case has been lodged with the High Court on Monday 15th December 2003 where the case will then be heard mid February 2004 hence all donations have to be received as soon as possible. It is important to note that when the Judicial Review verdict is secured and the school saved from closure the costs of the case will be bourn by the County Council and all donations will be returned to the individuals who have contributed in ensuring that local democracy prevails.