(This e-mail was sent to all Welsh Assembly Members, Welsh MPs and MEPs this morning - 14/03/04)
 
The Small & Determined Hermon Community School – Fights the Giant Pembrokeshire County Council in its decision to close the full & vibrant Primary School. The catapult is loaded as this David and Goliath fight reaches its pinnacle.

The Barrister representing Hermon School continues to be confident that the Hermon School Case is strong as they now count down to the High Court Hearing on the 26th of March 2004, It is ironic that the community of Hermon, Y Glog and Llanfyrnach are proactively answering the Welsh Assembly's call to address social, environment and economical improvement for the 21st Century to build a Better Wales for our children and our children's children. Therefore we are very saddened and angry that the Local Authority in Pembrokeshire wish to remove the thriving Primary school which will not allow those next generations to appreciate the importance of belonging to their community and giving them the foundation to become active citizens within our community. We in Hermon feel that the closure of small school policies being driven by Local Authority's officers needs to halted and reviewed by the Assembly Government where the continued centralisation of community and educational facilities is leading to ever growing numbers of retirement villages where young families are being discouraged (or can not afford) to living in our rural Welsh Speaking villages in North Pembrokeshire. We the inhabitants of North Pembrokeshire look to the Assembly Government act as the new heart of the Welsh Society, Culture and Economy to pump new lifeblood into our community. We see that the actions of our Local Authority is clogging those community channels and arteries thus blocking the direction and supply of new energy, indeed they are accelerating the continued withering of our community values. We now ask you to intervene.

The Hermon School Campaigners will have spent over 20,000 on legal fees by the 26th of March 2004 and are now anxious that their strong arguments will not reach the full Judicial Review stage (the next stage after the 26th) due to possible lack of funds. One of the Pembrokeshire County Council's strongest arguments for closing Hermon School was that the neighbouring parents of Crymych school who represented a larger number of children (so called democratic majority) wished to see the full rationalisation policy followed and had apparently endorsed closing Hermon School in order to establish a new area school at Crymych comprising of Children from Hermon, Crymych and near by Blaenffos School. The names and addressed of the so called majority supporters of rationalisation were forwarded to the National Assembly Educational Minister by the County Council to apparently show that there was a democratic majority in favour of the plans forced upon the North Pembrokeshire rural communities concerned. The Solicitor acting on behalf of the Hermon Parents has corresponded with the 60 Crymych parents to ensure that these important facts forward to the Assembly Education Minister were correct. The solicitor asked the Crymych parents to tick a box confirming their desire to see full rationalisation i.e. closure of Hermon School or to tick a box confirming that they only wished to see their school upgraded without forcing Hermon to close. Of the 40% who ticked and signed the return letter ALL OF THE CRYMYCH PARENTS WHO HAD RESPONDED expressed their desire to only see an upgrade at the Crymych site and not at the expense of Closing the full and vibrant school at Hermon. Many were very angry that the county council had used their names without consent. This crucial new evidence will be presented at the high court. The above issues had been raised by Hermon Campaigners with the Welsh Assembly prior to their 09/01/04 decision to back the County Council Decision to close Hermon School. It is disappointing that the Assembly Minister did not conduct an independent review as was requested by Hermon Parents at the time. (e-mailed to Schools Management Division
Department for Training and Education, Welsh Assembly)

The Hermon Community Primary School has a catchment of 3 villages - Llanfyrnach, Y Glog & Hermon; the school catchment area has a vibrant community who are determined to hold on to their school which is celebrating it's 125th anniversary in 2004. The community is currently compiling its Community Action plan as a continuation of the Community Appraisal conducted in 1999. The local LEADER + group PLANED is holding workshop sessions under the Assembly Rural Community Action funding to develop the community initiatives that we have identified so that our aims of a sustainable community can be achieved within the next 3 years. The following initiatives are currently being developed:

Community Land Owners Co-operative           Resource Centre,

Silver Workshop Unit                                    Source of the Taf  Foot Path

Cwm Y Glog Bridle Path                               Hermon Business Park

Community Nursery Co-operative                  Housing Trust of affordable homes

Retirement Homes with Warden Cover          Open a Branch of a Credit Union (www.credcer.co.uk)

Community Interest Company  - New DTI Legislation for communities to have shares.

Community Run Village Shop (WDA grants)   Recycling & Envir. Training Unit Recycling Workshop at Recycling centre site.                                 Bid for Community Worker to administrate projects

Hydro Electric Turbine (through old Sliver Mine Tunnels that fed water to Llanfyrnach)

New Village entry Signs – Slate & Sliver        Community Marquee Hire Company

Community Garden Centre                            Small Household Wind Turbines.

The villages of Hermon, Y Glog and Llanfyrnach have a wealth of rich history and heritage. The children of our Community School at Hermon are taught of the history of our local Standing Stones at Bynmeini - Hermon, the history of the Llanfynach Moat & Bailey Castle, The tales of St Brynach, the efforts of the Silver Miners at Llanfyrnach Mines, the slate workers of the large Glog Quarry, the Private Railway Line Investors of the narrow gage Cardi Bach Raliway, the history of the school where  the renowned socialist and bard T.E. Nicholas (Nicholas Y Glais) received his early education. By giving our young children the social building blocks of appreciating their environment we are hopefully widening their horizons by showing what has been possible in the past and thus we hope that their aspirations will be nurtured at an early age.

Many thanks for your continued support for our thriving rural community school, where I hope our arguments will finally be given a fair hearing at the High Court In London on the Friday the 26th of March 2004.

Diolch yn Fawr Iawn am y gefnogaeth.

Cris Tomos – Chair of Campaign Committee - 01239 831 962 - 07974 099738

Nerys Nicholas - Chair of Governors at Hermon School 01239 831 701

For further information see: www.hermonglog.org.uk