Ysgol Hermon - Hermon School
secures Legal Aid to fight school closure
Press Release – 12/09/03
North Pembrokeshire School under threat of closure secures Legal Aid in a landmark case for threatened rural schools in Wales.
The successful and full rural community Primary School of Hermon, North Pembrokeshire is celebrating the success of securing Legal Aid following an appeal hearing held at Cardiff on the afternoon of the 10/09/03.
The Legal Aid will allow the parents of Hermon School to appoint a London Based Barrister to give an independent opinion on the methods used by Pembrokeshire County Council in pushing forward the closure of the Vibrant Hermon Primary School. The rural school has a capacity of 46 children where currently the numbers have crossed 50 pupils with a total of 53 children to be registered by the end of this academic year. Parents have constantly pointed out that the Director of Educations reporting and consultation methods have been totally unfair and not representative of the feelings in the area to retain successful rural primary school. An example of the misleading information that was presented to council members is that the forecast figures by the Director of Education showed that by January 2004 Hermon school figures would have dropped to 44 pupils and that by 2005 it would be 37 hence this would demonstrate the pattern for the need to close the school. Despite repeated demands and physical evidence of named children that showed the figures rising to 54 children in 2005 as apposed to 37 children the Director of Education has refused to alter the projection figures thus painting an incorrect one sided recommendation for council and cabinet members. When the consultation process ended in April 2003 the parents of Hermon enquired with the local Community Council members as to what consultation discussions they had been asked to partake in (since they were community council members – elected locally to safeguard local interest). The community council had not been invited to partake in the consultation process. Subsequently a letter was received by the community council clerk in mid July from the Director of Education asking for the matter to be raised at the next meeting, which as a result of the summer holidays was not discussed until the 04/09/03; a date which was outside the final date for objection to the statutory notice for forwarding the matter to the National Assembly Minister – Jane Davidson.
The parents of Hermon have a catalog of such complaints as those above where minutes of consultation meetings do not correctly and fully reflect discussions held with parents. It is now hoped that the in-depth barristers study of the paperwork and parent’s objections will highlight these matters and give a fair and unbiased report of what has happened to date. The case will then be presented to the High Court where all parents of Hermon school are confident that with the assistance of Legal Aid a land mark case result will be achieved which will serve as a precedence for future rural school that have been bullied by local County Council.
The parents of Hermon are also furious with the County Council methods of trying to turn neighboring schools against each other – comments such as “if Hermon schools does not shut then you will not receive the investment for your school” are tactics that the population of North Pembrokeshire are not impressed with. Such methods of driving wedges between close communities are not actions that we would expect from leading county council officials or cabinet members especially within the education department.
For Further information please contact Cris Tomos 01239 831962 – 07974099738
Or Michael Imperato – Solicitor – 02920 262811