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Council proposes expanding Welsh medium education

24 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Children and teacher in class

Anthony Lewis Local Democracy Reporter

A council is proposing expanding Welsh medium education by creating places for those with additional learning needs (ALN).

Merthyr Tydfil County Council is consulting on the idea that Ysgol Gymraeg Rhyd Y Grug sets up a learning resource base (LRB) to support children with ALN through the medium of Welsh.

The council currently has 13 English-medium LRBs in mainstream primary schools across the county borough, providing places for up to 136 pupils, and this capacity has increased over the last two years as referrals for places has increased.

There is currently no such LRB provision within Welsh-medium primary schools.

Pupils at Welsh-medium schools account for about 12.5% of the total cohort in primary education in the county borough, so it would be reasonable to expect there to be a pro-rata equivalent supply of LRB places for pupils with ALN, the consultation document said.


The council’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan 2022-2032 states the aim to establish a Welsh-medium LRB in a mainstream primary school in order to increase and improve the ALN provision and provide an equitable offer of education.

The council proposes to establish a 12-place LRB for pupils from reception to year six with ALN, to be located at Ysgol Gymraeg Rhyd Y Grug. It would accommodate pupils with ALN requiring a specialist class placement and cater for a range of needs.

The class will offer short-term and long-term placement options to benefit all families of pupils wishing to receive a Welsh-medium education but needing specific support with ALN within an appropriate and secure environment, the consultation document said.

It said there will be no detrimental impact on the mainstream provision of the school.

The LRB will be within the school, housed within its own designated area. The class will have fewer pupils than a mainstream class and will have a higher ratio of adults for each pupil.

The ethos of the LRB is to provide specialist support to the individual pupil based on their level of need, with the intention, in some instances, of reintegrating the individual back into a mainstream class, where appropriate.

Entry and exit to the LRB will be determined by the council’s ALN panel, who meet frequently to discuss individual pupils referred in for specialist provision.

The class would be established from September 2025.


Ysgol Gymraeg Rhyd Y Grug is a Welsh medium 3-11 school maintained by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, which serves the whole of the south of the county borough and is located in Aberfan.

It is currently a one-form entry primary school with capacity for 288 pupils of statutory school age and an admission number of 40.

There is also a nursery class able to accommodate 49 full-time equivalent pupils including a pre-nursery class each January and April on a part-time basis.

The council has has secured capital grant funding from Welsh Government to expand the size of the school capacity to 329, increasing the admission number to 47, and making the school 1.5 form entry, in order to grow the supply of Welsh-medium primary places overall.

This will also allow the school to accommodate 63 full-time equivalent nursery education places with space for 47 full-time pupils each September, and a further 32 part-time pupils each January and April.

As part of the capital grant project, the council has secured funding to develop an LRB classroom at the school.

The council has also secured capital grant funding from Welsh Government to develop a community room facility and to co-locate a Cylch Meithrin childcare provision at the school.

The project to increase the capacity of the school, develop an LRB classroom space, and provide a community room and Cylch Meithrin childcare facility will be taken forward as a single project using Welsh Government funding.

The consultation period is running until June 2.

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