This is my second post on new Welsh-medium schools which are opening or moving to larger buildings at the start of this new school year. The first was here.
Ysgol Treganna, Cardiff
The story of finding a new permanent home for Ysgol Treganna is worthy of being called a saga ... not just in the sense of being an epic stuggle against the dark forces of the political underworld, but because you'd have to be over fifty to remember how it started.
Now isn't the time to retell the story. Suffice to say the saga is now at an end, and it's time to celebrate the fruits of victory. The days of teaching in cupboards and corridors are over, the staff won't have to queue to use one toilet, and the kids will have space in which to learn and play ... both indoors and in green space outside. The end product is certainly better than it might otherwise have been, but the time it took to get there could have been so much shorter.
As an overview of what the school looks like, it's probably best to use the original design images, as nothing is tidy enough to take glossy pictures of yet:
Now the design has become reality, and these are some images which I've taken from the school's Twitter feed.
There will be challenges ahead for the new school. Ysgol Treganna had been a small, tight-knit school of just over 200 pupils in which everybody knew everyone else. When Tan yr Eos was set up as an overflow it again developed into a small, tight-knit school of just over 100. Now, not only have the two come together under one roof, but the intake will be increased to 90 each year, meaning that the school will eventually have 720 pupils including those in the nursery. It will be the largest primary school in Wales.
This is bound to change the ethos and character of the school for, even with the best will in the world, it will be now be hard for everybody to know everyone else. What before could have been done informally will probably have to be done more formally, and some will find it hard to adjust. But with good will and dedication any such problems can be overcome ... and perhaps even turned to advantage. I wish everybody concerned all the best in what promises to be a bright new future.
Ysgol Bro Edern, Cardiff
This is Cardiff's long-awaited third Welsh-medium secondary school. Although it has existed as a separate entity for the last year, it was located in temporary accommodation on the site of Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf. But it has now moved to a permanent new home in the buildings that used to house St Teilo's, while St Teilo's has moved into a brand new building which is so nice that it would be better not to show any pictures of it here. Let's not be envious ... well, not too envious!
It's much better to look on the bright side. Here are some pictures of Ysgol Bro Edern's new home:
The school has a new sign over the front entrance and even its own bus stop outside ... and the view from the top is fantastic.
There are lots of school buildings in Wales that are in worse condition. The important thing is that Cardiff now has a third Welsh-medium secondary school, with capacity for some 1,100 children, in a good location to serve the eastern part of the city. These are things that are worth celebrating. What matters more is the quality of the education and the dedication and enthusiasm of the staff, the pupils and their parents. I wish them every success as they stretch their wings and establish their own identity and ethos.
The next problem for Cardiff will be to find a location for a fourth Welsh-medium secondary – something that needs to be thought about now, because with the massive growth in Welsh-medium primary education in Cardiff, it will be necessary in only a few years' time.