Press Release – 31/01/04

Rural school’s fight for survival receives further support from community councils, organisations and individuals from across Wales.

The rural communities of Hermon, Glogue and Llanfyrnach continue to be determined to put a halt to the totally undemocratic methods of forcing communities to close their rural primary schools. The methods used by Pembrokeshire County Councils officials have been totally underhand and again this week the parents of the small but full primary school at Hermon, North Pembrokeshire are astonished to hear that during a meeting of local chairs of Governors this Thursday 29th January 2004 that the Director of Education for the County – Mr Gerson Davies once again stated clearly that if the parents of the 2 other schools involved in the amalgamation of the 3 school do not support the closure of Hermon School then they will receive no funds for upgrading their building or build an area school for the other 2 school. The other 2 schools being Blaenffos and Crymych primary schools have a desperate need for improvements in their damp and inadequate buildings. The children of Crymych primary school even have to walk a considerable distance every day to receive their lunch in the nearby Secondary School. It is little wonder that these parents are being forced into supporting the County Councils unpopular proposals.

The High Court of Justice – Queen’s Bench Division Administration Court are currently reviewing the paperwork submitted by the Barrister in the name of one the Hermon School Children – Joel Lloyd of Llanfyrnach who is acting on behalf of the interest of all the children and parents of Hermon Primary School. The High Court Judge will view the papers within the next 4 weeks and will decide on the merit of the case to go forward for full Judicial Review sometime during April or May. To date the costs incurred by the Hermon Parents has amounted to nearly 10,000 where they are now pushing forward their second phase of fundraising and awareness raising so that they can hopefully fund the Barristers costs during the Judicial Review.

It is encouraging to see that the efforts of the parents of Hermon in raising awareness of their plight is being supported by all , that is once they understand the full extent of  how undemocratic and dictatorial the officers of the County Council have acted. All community councils in Wales – nearly 800 in all have been written to by the parents of Hermon School during the past 2 weeks, it is encouraging to see the tremendous initial response for support to the parents High Court Campaign. Parents were particularly grateful to the local Crymych Community Council for their contribution of 1000. Regional organisations support such as the UNION – council workers union was a particularly gratefully received where their words of support in endorsing our fight against the County Council were a tremendous boots as was their contribution of 500. It is ironic that the union representing the Pembrokeshire County Council workers can see so clearly the absurdity of the council bosses’ decisions in forcing a full and vibrant school to close in order to allow neighbouring school to receive funding.

Additional funds have been received from across Wales from other organisations and individuals. A local family had no hesitation in providing a 1000 to the campaign where they knew that their children had received the best primary education possible by attending Hermon Community School, the family were aware of other friends who had sent their children to larger primaries where their children had not experienced all aspects of involvement in school events, since it would only be the few top performers who would be involve in representing a large primary, where as in a small primary school all pupils have an opportunity to be fully involved. Also the issue of learning the Welsh Language is more effective in a small Rural Primary school where non Welsh Speaking children are soon fully fluent since there is a much closer teacher pupil relationship and less chance of social gang grouping.

The High Court Case will be a test case and influence many such future cases in rural areas, the fact that County Councils can pour vast amounts of money into bullying communities into accepting their short term whims will now be tested by the small Hermon community fighting back with the help of people from across the whole of the UK.

Any one interested in supporting the school’s campaign can visit the community website on www.hermonglog.org.uk and donate anonymously into the bank account or send donations by post to Hermon School, Pembs, SA36 ODT.

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School Governors Contact :Nerys Nicholas  - Contact Number 01239 831701 or 07766 545383

School Campaign Co-ordinator: Cris Tomos – Contact Number 01239 831962 or 07974 099738

Legal Contact: Michael Imperato Solicitor – Contact 02920 262811

See attached photo - Recent School meeting - Cris Tomos, Campaign Chair, holding the High Court Case Papers & Julie Lloyd mother of Joel Lloyd who's name appears as the person fighting the case on behalf of the other School Children and Parents.