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Llanfihangel Rhydithon C.P. School and Judicial Review

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27 June 2022

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A legal challenge over a decision to close a small school has been unsuccessful, Powys County Council has said.

On Wednesday, 22 June 2022, the High Court considered the Judicial Review application at a hearing in Cardiff and Mrs Justice Steyn refused permission for a Judicial Review to be held to challenge the decision made on Tuesday, 8 February, 2022 to close Llanfihangel Rhydithon C.P. School.

The Judge ruled that it was unarguable that the Council had:

  1. failed to apply the presumption against the closure of rural schools required by the Welsh Government's School Organisation Code, or;
  2. failed to conscientiously consider a federation with Llanelwedd Church in Wales School.

The Judge also rejected an argument that the Council was in breach of its duty under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The application for Judicial Review was dismissed and the Claimant was ordered to pay £5,000 towards the Council's costs

Cllr James Gibson-Watt, Leader of Powys County Council, said: "Although this will be disappointing news for the Llanfihangel Rhydithon school community, the judgement shows that the Council followed the correct procedures that were in line with the Welsh Government's School Organisation Code when the original decision was reached.

"However, Cabinet has decided to revisit the proposal to close Llanfihangel Rhydithon C.P. School as we need to carefully consider the wider implications if the proposal is implemented.

"Cabinet will be considering a report about the school on Tuesday, July 5. It will also be considered by the Learning and Skills Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, June 29."

Cllr Pete Roberts, Cabinet Member for a Learning Powys, said: "This decision will be warmly welcomed by council staff, judicial review in this case was about how officers implemented a decision not the decision itself. I am therefore pleased that the processes followed by staff have been confirmed as compliant and that they can move forward with other proposals with increased confidence."