£24m bid to boost Welsh school­ing

Plan in­cludes build­ing im­prove­ments:

Cynon Valley - - FRONT PAGE - AN­THONY LEWIS an­thony.lewis@waleson­line.co.uk

RHONDDA Cynon Taf coun­cil wants to spend nearly £24m on in­creas­ing Welsh medium ed­u­ca­tion and im­prov­ing school build­ings in sev­eral Cynon Val­ley schools.

The coun­cil’s cab­i­net is set to de­cide on pro­pos­als to spend £13m on in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity at two Welsh medium schools in Cwm­dare and Peny­waun.

The coun­cil also pro­poses spend­ing £10m on a new build­ing for Hir­waun Pri­mary School mean­ing that Pen­deryn Pri­mary School would be­come a fully Welsh medium school and ac­cept no new English medium ad­mis­sions from Au­gust 2019.

The pro­posal for Ys­gol Gy­fun Rhy­dy­waun in Peny­waun would in­volve £10m be­ing spent on in­creas­ing its ca­pac­ity and im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties to meet the de­mand for Welsh medium places.

The school also serves Merthyr Tyd­fil and pupil numbers have been risen from 910 in 2009 to 971 this year with it fore­cast to reach full ca­pac­ity by 2020.

The cur­rent ca­pac­ity of the school is 1,038 pupils.

The plan is for a class­room ex­ten­sion block, and a sep­a­rate sports hall con­tain­ing class­rooms for the PE cur­ricu­lum which will in­crease the school’s ca­pac­ity to at least 1,200 places, adding an ad­di­tional 162 places to the ex­ist­ing num­ber.

Ys­gol Gyn­radd Gym­raeg Aber­dare, in Cwm­dare, would see more than £3m spent on in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity to meet the de­mand for Welsh medium places.

its pupil numbers are also in­creas­ing, hav­ing gone from 293 in 2004 to 359 this year and as the ca­pac­ity of the school is 372, it has been op­er­at­ing at al­most full ca­pac­ity for around 10 years.

The coun­cil pro­poses re­mov­ing the cur­rent dou­ble mo­bile class­room unit and re­plac­ing it with a per­ma­nent build four class­room ex­ten­sion block which will in­crease the pupil ca­pac­ity of the school by 60 places over­all. Hir­waun Pri­mary School has a main­te­nance back­log of £1.9m, the big­gest for any pri­mary school in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The coun­cil says that the type of con­struc­tion makes ma­jor re­pairs, re­mod­el­ing or re­fur­bish­ment work very dif­fi­cult and costly and that the most cost ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion is con­sid­ered to be a new build­ing on the ex­ist­ing site.

Once the build­ing is com­plete, the cur­rent school build­ing will be de­mol­ished and be turned into park­ing and a play area.

The main rea­son for mak­ing Pen­deryn Pri­mary School purely Welsh medium is be­cause of the ris­ing Welsh medium pupil numbers and fall­ing English medium pupil numbers at the school.

The £23.9m will be half funded by the coun­cil and half by the Welsh Gov­ern­ment’s 21st Cen­tury Schools Pro­gramme and the pro­pos­als would be com­pleted by 2022.

Cab­i­net will con­sider the pro­pos­als when it meets this Thurs­day, Septem­ber 20.

The coun­cil wants to spend £24m on in­creas­ing Welsh medium ed­u­ca­tion and im­prov­ing school build­ings

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