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Alternative names for new Welsh-medium school rejected due to fears they would be unpronounceable

03 Mar 2024 4 minute read
An image showing how Ysgol Gymraeg Trefynwy could look when a refurbishment is complete. Picture: Monmouthshire County Council.

Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

Alternative names for a new Welsh-medium school were rejected in part due to fears they would be unpronounceable.

A ‘seedling’ school – which will grow by a class each school year – is being established in Monmouth this September.

It will be the third Welsh medium primary school in Monmouthshire, and county councillors have agreed it should be named Ysgol Gymraeg Trefynwy, which translates as Monmouth Welsh School.


Abergavenny councillor Tudor Thomas, who is chair of the school’s temporary governing body, said alternatives of Ysgol Bro Mynwy, translated as Monnow Vale School, and Ysgol Glannau’r Gwy, which is Banks of the River Wye School, were discounted.

He said: “The other names that were looked at could have been quite difficult to pronounce.”

He added: “Ysgol Gymraeg Trefynwy is short and sharp and says what is.”

Cllr Thomas said there is still “quite a small number of children” due to start in September but added: “My hope is we will push that up.”

The Labour member said his own child was one of just 20 pupils in the first intake at Ysgol Gymraeg y Fenni when it opened in 1994 – and it is now due to move to a 420-capacity school and will be the biggest in Abergavenny.

Secondary school

Cllr Thomas said he was confident the school in Monmouth will be as successful as Ysgol y Fenni and Ysgol y Ffin, in Caldicot, and added: “I really hope in future we will have a Welsh-medium secondary school in the county but I think that is a tall ask.”

Ysgol Trefynwy will open in a classroom at Overmonnow Primary School this September and move into a refurbished building in September 2025. Cllr Thomas said he wanted to thank Overmonnow Primary: “It’s a big step for them and they’ve given us support.”

Wyesham independent Emma Bryn said she’d also like to see a secondary school in Monmouthshire as she had to travel for more than an hour, by bus, to attend a Welsh medium school.

She said: “I’m delighted to see the school is finally opening it is something we’ve fought for. When my children were still small, 20 years ago, I had to stick a little five-year-old on a bus to Abergavenny and, as great as it was, it did seem like a long way for them to go and I’d much prefer for them to be able to walk to school and now others will.

“And I echo the point about a secondary. I had to sit on a bus for an hour and a half to access Welsh medium education and my child had to do the same 30 years later.”

Conservative councillor for Shirenewton Louise Brown asked if the translation of the school’s name could appear on its sign “so those members of the public who don’t speak Welsh could know what the school is about.”


Conservative member for Llanfoist and Govilon Tomos Davies said he is originally from Cardiff and “witnessed the immense growth of the Welsh language” in the capital in the late 1990s. He said a Welsh language phrase about its growth along the Taff could be adapted for Monmouth.

He said: “Gall y Gymraeg ffynnu ar y Fynwy, which translates as Welsh can flourish along the Monnow.”

Independent member for Crucorney David Jones pointed out the report to the council had insterted the word “primary” into the name of the school even though it isn’t in the Welsh name.

Cllr Thomas said it isn’t intended to use the Welsh ‘cynradd’ for primary in the name, he said: “Ysgol Gymraeg y Fenni has been a very successful brand and that’s why we chose Gymraeg Trefynwy.”

On including the English translation on the school sign Cllr Thomas said the intention is that “everything” is in the “primary language of the school” as much as possible but Cllr Brown’s suggestion could be looked at.

When the school opens this September it will offer full days for three and four-year olds, in line with school opening hours, for one year only.

From September 2025, there will be a Welsh medium Cylch Meithrin on the school site able to provide wrap around childcare for three and four-year- olds, as well as Flying Start childcare for two-year-olds, and the school nursery will then revert to part time sessions of two and a half hours a day.

Anyone interested in registering their child at Ysgol Gymraeg Trefynwy, can apply for places in nursery, reception and Year one by visiting or contacting [email protected].

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1 month ago

The continuing sad and lazy practice of including the ‘Cymraeg’ label in school names indicates there’s yet a long way to go before Welsh is even seen as normal. It’s as if we’re naming them for or from the perspective of someone else. I can’t think of any schools with the ‘Saesneg/English’ label in the name.

Richard E
Richard E
1 month ago

I recall in the 1970s and 80s the view from some Gwent members on the WJEC towards “ yr hen laith “ ….. ‘ among consenting adults and in private ‘ perhaps was one of the more repeatable memories of comments at the time ! Some Gwent county members like Garth Jenkins and Marlene Thomas endured much abuse in expressing their determination to support even the teaching of some Welsh in schools. In Newport the then city leaders views were so out of the ark that the few pro Welsh or bilingual councillors : officers hid their fluency ! Great… Read more »

1 month ago

What strange weak reasoning.

Imagine if we just gave up trying to pronounce words in the dictionary because they are too difficult

Cymro Penperllenni
Cymro Penperllenni
1 month ago

Why do we always pander to non Welsh speakers. Unpronounceable names and an English version on signs so that non Welsh speakers know what the name of the school is. We need to be more assertive and confident about our language. The good news is that there will be another Welsh school in Sir Fynwy. Newyddion wych.

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