A Third Welsh-medium Primary in Newport

Back in this post in September, I noted that Ruth Salisbury, the Education Policy and Research Officer at Newport, had told a meeting at the National Eisteddfod that the city was actively planning to open a third WM primary school. I'm delighted to see that these plans have now been made public with the launch of a consultation on setting up a new school to open in September 2011.

New Welsh-medium primary planned for the city

Due to increasing demand, the council is moving to formal consultation on plans to open a temporary school at Maindee Primary School in September 2011. It would then look at finding a permanent location for a new school.

There are currently two Welsh-medium primary schools in the city - Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd in Ringland and Ysgol Cymraeg Ifor Hael in Bettws. A report to councillors says there are currently 77 places available in each of the school’s year groups, with a combined total of 89 in the reception classes. But a survey carried out by the authority found that 105 reception places would be needed in 2012 and more than 140 would be needed in 2013.

The increase in demand means that the two schools, which are already over their foundation phase capacity, will no longer be able to cope past 2011. The council is therefore seeking to create a seedling school at Maindee Primary School, which will accommodate a total of 120 pupils from nursery to Year 1 and potentially Year 2.

The report says the city centre location of the school will allow as many pupils as possible from across Newport to have access to Welsh-medium education within two miles of their home.

If it gets the go ahead the facility would be open for a maximum of three years, which will give the council the opportunity to consider plans for a permanent location for a third school under its 21st Century Schools Programme. Until then the temporary school would operate under its own name, identity, governing body and staff, the report says.

South Wales Argus, 18 November 2010

As we can see in the picture below, Maindee Primary is a fairly new building, close to the centre of Newport, just behind Rodney Parade rugby ground.

     

Based on the admission number of 65, the school has a capacity of 455 excluding nursery. But it currently has only 317 children, so there seems to be plenty of room for what is in effect going to be a starter school until a new permanent home is found. The best place for this will be in the west of the city, though the centre will probably do just as well.

     

Capital funding has taken a very severe hit in the allocation of the Welsh Block Grant, and the draft budget issued yesterday indicates that the capital budget for education will fall from a baseline of £183m this year to £173m, £161m and £144m over the next three years. That's a 21.3% fall in monetary terms, and in real terms is even worse because of inflation. But this doesn't mean that no new schools will be built ... it means that only about two out of every three schemes will be able to go ahead.

It's obviously too early to say whether the new permanent school will be one of them; but it's equally true to say that if the parents of 63 more children in Newport each year want them to have a Welsh-medium education, there will be 63 fewer children going to English-medium schools. So building a new school will not be the only way of meeting the increasing demand.

The figures also show beyond any doubt that Newport will need to set up its own WM secondary school in the next few years. At present children from Newport have to travel to Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Torfaen.

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6 comments:

Plaid Panteg said...

As a parent living nearby, I am really happy that this is happening. My kids are due to go to Ysgol Cwmbran, but there is an issue about a new WM comprehensive for Newport/South of Torfaen.

Torfaen are committed to building a newer and bigger WM school to replace Ysgol Panteg too on the old steelworks site.

Anonymous said...

if the parents of 63 more children in Newport each year want them to have a Welsh-medium education, there will be 63 fewer children going to English-medium schools. So building a new school will not be the only way of meeting the increasing demand.

Not when 4 to 5 children is the average per Islamic family. Maindee school will be rammed solid in 2-3 years and Pill school as well, so we aint going to shut anything EM to expand WM in the Port. In fact the growing diversity push will continue to include other languages in primary as has become a talking point already. There is a body of opinion in some quarters that Punjabi or Urdu should be taught over Welsh in Newport's schools. Particularly amongst some of the hardline muslims here who feel Welsh is irrelevant to their culture

Anonymous said...

"There is a body of opinion in some quarters that Punjabi or Urdu should be taught over Welsh in Newport's schools. Particularly amongst some of the hardline muslims here who feel Welsh is irrelevant to their culture", Anon 0210.

Hardline anythings made a choice to live in Cymru (of which Casnewydd is now and has always been a part). The Welsh culture can not be irrelevant to "their" culture, as they are now Welsh (as well as Panjabi, Urdu, English, whatever).

I have nothing against them practising a Welsh form of a Panjabi, Urdu or English culture. Life's rich pageant, etc ..., but if they're so "Hardline", whyever did they leave wherever they came from?

Let's dream of dozens of multilingual children from all backgrounds (Hardline or otherwise) learning together in Casnewydd's new WM schools in future.

MH said...

I see this is a subject that has got one hardline BNP supporter rather worked up. But the "body of opinion" he talks about is likely to be just the opinion of one person with a body. Himself.

As for the numbers at Maindee, they are not going up at all. They have remained fairly stable for the past eight years or so, and are in fact lower now than at any time in that period.

Anonymous said...

Im hoping to move there in next few weeks my children all go to welsh mediam now but im dont know where to send them when i come plz help

MH said...

The best thing would be to get in touch with Newport Council, Anon. The contact details for school admissions are:

School Organisation Team
Newport City Council
Civic Centre
Newport
NP20 4UR
Email: school.admissions@newport.gov.uk

Telephone: 01633 656656

The web page is:

http://www.newport.gov.uk/_dc/index.cfm?fuseaction=schools.applying

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