City plans for new Welsh medium primary revealed

Posted on Wednesday 10th April 2019

Newport City Council has announced plans for a fourth Welsh-medium primary in the city from September 2020, increasing the current number of Welsh-medium primary school places across the city by 50 per cent.

Within the council’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP), which was formally approved by Welsh Government last year, was a commitment to expand primary provision. This was supported by a pledge from Welsh Government for capital funding.

Almost £6m is now set to be invested in the new Welsh-medium school and two other schools in the west of the city.

It is proposed that the Welsh-medium school be developed at the current site of Pillgwenlly Primary. Following a £3m refurbishment, it would take-up home there in September 2022 as a two-form entry primary school with an immersion unit and learning resource base.

It is also proposed that a seedling school be established from September 2020, located within the vacant infant building at Caerleon Lodge Hill. A number of locations have been considered for the seedling school, but this purpose built foundation phase facility could provide an excellent temporary base with outside learning facilities, also removing the need for temporary or demountable classrooms.

In order to support this ambitious proposal, the current Pillgwenlly Primary would move to a new facility on the Whiteheads development in early 2022.

This relocation would allow the popular and already over-subscribed school to grow, offering three-form entry. The school currently has high numbers of children on the waiting list for all year groups and in many cases, families living in the area find that their children have to attend different schools. This investment would reduce the number of families in that situation and in turn, improve school attendance and punctuality.

Money would also be invested in Tredegar Park Primary, increasing it from a two-form to a two and a half-form entry school.

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “We made a commitment to expand and enhance the opportunities for Welsh-medium education in Newport and we are delivering on that promise.

“Basing the new school in Pill would meet a demand in this area of the city. We have also seen excellent examples of thriving Welsh-medium education within BME communities, such as Butetown, Cardiff, and I am excited to develop this in Newport.

“The expansion of Pillgwenlly Primary would also be invaluable to meeting the needs of the local community and enhancing education and attendance across the board.”

Councillor Gail Giles, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “This a positive step for education in Newport and will certainly support the Welsh Government’s desire to reach a million Welsh speakers by 2050 – we are grateful that they have supported our ambitious plans.

“I am also pleased that we may be able to use an otherwise vacant building, which will not only act as a perfect seedling school, but will also benefit Caerleon.”

In developing the new school, the city’s Welsh-medium catchment areas will also be reviewed to reflect the improved provision across Newport.

Before a final decision is taken on the proposals, formal consultation will take place to allow all interested parties to comment. Specific dates will be announced in due course.

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