New Welsh-medium school in Griffithstown

In today's South Wales Argus there's a story about primary school provision in Griffithstown, on the south side of Pontypool.

     Griffithstown school plan gets thumbs up

A couple of years ago the separate infants and junior schools were amalgamated into one primary school, but still remained on their two respective sites only a couple of hundred metres apart. Even so, the total capacity was inadequate (there are a couple of portacabins) so Torfaen's plan is to enlarge the buildings on the junior site (which is bigger and has more space around it room to expand into) to bring together both parts of the school in on one site. This is what was envisaged when the infants and junior schools were combined.

This will leave the old infants school site on Oxford Street to be used as a new Welsh-medium school. It only has a capacity of 140, but this is badly needed as the two other WM primary schools in Torfaen—Cwmbran to the south and Bryn Onnen to the north—will not have enough places to meet the growing parental demand.


This is a win-win situation. The parents of children in the EM schools are happy that they will have more space and not be split across two sites; and the parents who want WM education will not have to travel so far to get it.

Torfaen are to be commended for this. They will now have three WM primary schools for a total population of about 90,000. Two of their immediate neighbours have not responded nearly so well. Newport to the south only has two WM primaries for a population of 138,000. Blaenau Gwent to the west has only one WM primary for a population of 70,000.

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DaiTwp said...

Good news, what is really needed regarding WM education provision is a genuine survey to find out just how many parents would like to send their children to a WM school if there were a WM School avialable LOCALLY. We're still in a situation, particuarly in the S&SW Wales where children have to travel distances you would never dream of if you were sending them to an EM school (particuarly in WM secondary schools).

The trouble is the councils don't want to do it because it would cause too many problems for them. They are obliged to provide WM education for all those who want it.

Unknown said...

I live 30 metres from this school.

Interesting reading to say the least.

Sweet and Tender Hooligan said...

That was me, S&TH

MH said...

Marcus, This isn't meant to be a scientific question but, as the parent of a young child, perhaps you could give us some idea of local feeling among your neighbours.

Do you know of parents around you who will send their children to the new WM school (assuming it gets the go ahead) but who would have hesitated to send them to the "Three Bears" in Cwmbran on the grounds that it is too far away?

Sweet and Tender Hooligan said...


With great difficulty I can answer that question, primarily because I havent spoken to any one else.

Personally, my experience of friends going to the 'welsh school' is that they do so out of explicit request of their parents. My mate was sent to the Welsh School in Trevethin from Newport for example.

With respect, much of the clamour for Welsh medium education runs along the same lines of religious education.

There is a perception that its niche in this area means it has smaller classes, newer facilities (as more are built etc) and an advantage in the future.

The WAG, with good intentions I am sure, are putting a high value on welsh language skills. Parents know by sending them to welsh medium school, they automatically have an advantage.

I am not necessarily convinced that is healthy or correct, but that is another debate.

Sweet and Tender Hooligan said...

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Blaenau Gwent a second WM school is on the way and blydi lyfli it looks too!

MH said...

It is good that BG are building a new WM at Nant y Glo, and I commented about it here:

But it is a REPLACEMENT for the existing school at Brynmawr, meaning that BG will still only have one WM school. The real news would be if they decided to build (or convert) another new school at Ebbw Vale or Tredegar. I would guess a good number of children at Brynmawr come from Ebbw Vale, and moving it two miles down towards Abertillery will make the journey that much longer. So the need for a new WM school in Ebbw Vale will increase.

I still half hope that they will announce this to a bardic fanfare at the 2010 Eisteddfod. But I don't see any signs of it at the moment.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting but we have to remember that the Labour Party will do all it can to stop Welsh mediun education as it is its way of keeping a political grip on the working class and poor people. Their reasoning is that an English speaking working class is a Labor voting working class and a Welsh speaking working class is Plaid Cymru working class. However, this is changing and Labour can't even rely on the working class and poor people voting for them any longer.

Locally, in Swansea, it is quite clear that the Labour party inspired Jane Davidson to cut the numbers for Ysgol Gymraeg Llynderw.

Labour, when it controlled the council, came at a figure of 420 pupils. She cut it to 315. A Labour councillor, Mark Child, said the Lib Dem/Ind. group's figures were calculated "on the back of an envelope", yet he was on the council when his own party came to this very same figure.

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