A COUNCIL’S plans to close a Welsh language school have been slammed. 

Denbighshire Council wants to close Ysgol Pentrecelyn and merge it with the bilingual Ysgol Llanfair DC. 

The closure would take part in two phases with the school’s leadership merged and the two school’s continuing on their existing sites and the following year they would move into new buildings on one site. 

Ysgol Pentrecelyn parents have taken a judicial review against the council to get a legal judgement on how the council went about closing the school. 

The case was heard in Mold and their barrister, Gwion Lewis, said: “We are saying that the decision to close these two schools is deficient because (the consultation) focused wrongly only on the initial proposal to link the two schools and the associated sites and not the real proposal which is to merge the two schools on a single new site. 

“With the Pentrecelyn and Llanfair pupils will be mixing we say that is an additional impact on the Welsh language which the council has not considered.” 

Mr Lewis described the council’s reasoning as flawed and illogical.

Campaigners fighting to keep the Welsh medium school open said that the council’s actions would damage the state of the Welsh language in the area.

Nia Mon speaking on behalf of Ymgyrch Pentrecelyn said: “Ymgyrch Pentrecelyn still believe we should never be in this position of having to take Denbighshire County Council to court. Denbighshire's decision to downgrade the language status of our school, and our children's education has forced us into such action. Closing our Category 1 welsh medium school and placing us in a category 2 bilingual school where the social, play and educational language would be changed should never have even been discussed. Our historical Judicial Review is not only to ensure the future of Welsh medium education in Pentrecelyn and the county, but to ensure that Denbighshire County Council will not set a precedent for the rest of Wales by downgrading the educational language of our children. It has taken over a year of hard work raising thousands of pounds, good will, lobbying and the kindness of heart and tremendous ability of our barrister Gwion Lewis to get us this far, we are extremely thankful to him and all of our supporters from across Wales.” 

Denbighshire Council released a statement.

It read: “We recognise that the language categorisation has been an emotive issue amongst some parents of Ymgyrch Pentrecelyn and they have made their feelings known to the council 

Their views were taken into consideration all the way through the consultation and decision making process and they have decided to challenge elements of the process through the judicial review system.

“Our approach has been fully scrutinised through the Council’s own processes and we firmly believe that our processes have been robust and appropriate.

“Despite the objections received, there is general consensus in both communities that a brand new £3.4 million area school will provide enhanced facilities for children in the area.

“The council has needed to take a holistic approach to this matter and it has carefully considered what it thinks is right for education in this area. 

“The proposals agreed will enhance the Welsh language provision, with more pupils from the area accessing Welsh medium education.

“Our key priority is around improving education and school buildings and we are committed to monitoring the standards and outcomes of the new Area School, once it is up and running. The governing body of the new school will have a key role to play in ensuring the language ethos of the new school.

“We will need to await the outcome of the judicial review process before making any further comment.”

A judgement is expected within three weeks.