Today was the first time I've ever been to church where the congregation prayed for the future of a school. At 11.00 this morning teachers, governors' parents, pupils and supporters, including one ex-pupil (me) attended an Education Sunday Service at St Garmon's Church, Castle Caereinion in Montgomeryshire. The Rev Bill Rowell led a celebration of the life of Castle Caereinion Church School, which Powys County Council, to general incredulity, has announced publicly is under threat of closure.
Pupils and ex-pupils put on a little theatrical performance. One of the characters was named William Arthur Gibbons (known as WAG). There was no Leanard Edward Andrews (LEA), or Peter Charles Collins (PCC). One line I remember hearing was "Father, forgive then for they know not what they are doing". You can say that again. No-one can understand what has motivated the Council to suggest closing this successful little school. Even by the Council's own criteria of needing at least 30 pupils, the school doesn't qualify. I suppose its a form of municipal vandalism. It also creates huge worry for everyone who cares about the community of Castle Caereinion.
As an aside, how about this for a headline - "Tory MP admits sitting naked on Church organist's knee". Admittedly I was only one at the time and she babysat me. Lavena Roberts has been organist at St Garmon's since Macmillan was Prime Minister, and she was still there today - 87 years old, and not a note out of place. Anyway, I'm going to try to raise a debate on the threat to Castle Caereinion School in the House of Commons as a peg on which to hang a 'rural services' debate.