News that both Govilon and Llanover Primary Schools are to close on the 31st August is disappointing news for pupils, parents and teachers in the affected schools and their communities. Not for nothing are our small villages and community schools referred to as the hearts of their communities - their loss will be a bitter blow to both communities. There has been much understandable local criticism of the consultation process, which has been described to me as being somewhat after the fact.
Sadly many of our small communities across the whole of Wales have and probably will face similar situations. The National Assembly needs to take a long hard look at the programme of small school closures by Monmouthshire County Council (MCC), rather than merely acting as an effective rubber stamp. There is a bigger picture here, one that stretches far beyond the Assembly directive (which is regularly sited by MCC spokespeople) which aims to reduce surplus places.
For many of our smaller communities a school building and its facilities aside from being a ficus of much community activity are an important community asset out of school hours - which once lost is gone forever. It's time to look at the bigger picture and and to take a much longer view - merely repeating a questionable policy of small school closures and amalgamations (as practiced over the border) is not good enough - our communities badly need some real vision here.