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Delays to new Welsh language school confirmed

28 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Deri View Primary School

Plans to relocate a Welsh language primary school with 254 pupils currently on its roll have been delayed “due to manufacturing issues”.

Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni was set to move to new premises this September, but in an email sent to parents and carers, the school’s staff and governors have confirmed that the move has been put on hold.

“Disappointed”

The email, written by Headteacher Sarah Oliver says: “Following a public consultation evening yesterday hosted by Monmouthshire County Council, we can confirm the disappointing news that there is a delay in moving Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni to its new location. There is no confirmation of a new moving date at this time.

“As staff and governors we are obviously beyond disappointed but the situation is out of our hands.

Attached to the email is a letter from the local authority, outlining the reason for the delay which has been put down to slow progress on new buildings for King Henry VIII 3-19 School – the destination for the current English language primary school children at Deri View Primary.

The current Deri View Primary School building will become the town’s new Welsh language school building.

The letter, from Monmouthshire County Council’s Chief Officer, Children and Young People Directorate, which is addressed to parents and carers of year 6 pupils in the Abergavenny Cluster says: “I am writing to update you on the progress of the new buildings for King Henry VIII 3-19 School.

“As you may be aware, the school were due to move into their new accommodation in November 2024. Unfortunately, the completion of the new building has been delayed, due to manufacturing issues beyond the control of the Local Authority and Contractor. There is not yet a known specific timeframe for the move and I will update you as soon as there is more information to share.

“Everybody is disappointed by the delay. However, we are heartened that the delay highlights the thorough and robust processes that are in place to check the quality of the new buildings, thus ensuring that the school will have the first-class facilities we expect.”

Relocation

Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni currently has capacity for 317 pupils, however a large proportion of that space is made up of temporary classrooms rented by Monmouthshire County Council which says the accommodation doesn’t meet its “aspirations of providing excellent teaching and learning environments”.

Relocation to Deri View is said to allow the Welsh medium school to increase its capacity to 420 places as well as provide 60 places in the meithrin nursery provision. 

Cabinet member for education, Martyn Groucutt who represents the town’s Lansdown ward, previously said of the plans to relocate: “This reflects the success of Welsh medium education in the Abergavenny area, what we would like ultimately to be able to do is to move Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni into its fourth building.

“A building which is modern that we can still spend a bit of money on making it look better than it does already that will put Welsh medium education in a really very strong provision in north west Monmouthshire. 

“From a personal point of view I’m delighted it wil be moving into my ward along with the 3-19 school.” 

The Labour councillor said though it may seem a “big gap” between the current 254 pupils and the proposal for a 420 pupil, two form entry, school it has seen growing rolls. 

He said: “When I first joined the council in 2017 there were 222 pupils there. When I was involved as an officer with the establishment of the first Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni there were 12 pupils. 

“From 12 to over 400, we need to consult and bring people with us.” 

One million Welsh speakers target

The council’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan, which supports the Welsh Government target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050, aims for there to be 115 learners in each primary year group being taught through the medium of Welsh by 2031. 

The council’s other existing Welsh medium is Ysgol Gymraeg y Ffin primary school in Caldicot, which has 210 places, and the council is due to open a seedling primary school in Monmouth this September. 

The council said the current Ysgol Y Fenni site has reached its capacity and that relocation is the most financially viable option which will deliver “excellent teaching and learning facilities and a prompt solution to relieving the accommodation pressures currently experienced” at the school.


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