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End of an era as local authority-run single sex school education set to end in Wales

14 Mar 2024 2 minute read
Image: Lewis School Pengam

Nicholas Thomas Local Democracy Reporter

Single-sex secondary education looks likely to end in one county – reportedly the last local authority in Wales to still run boys-only and girls-only schools.

Caerphilly Council has unveiled an “ambitious” proposal to tackle low pupil numbers at Lewis Girls’ School in Ystrad Mynach and boys-only Lewis School Pengam.

Transition

The latter school will become co-ed, and the former will remain open “to manage the transition over a number of years”.

Carol Andrews, the cabinet member for education, said the merger could bring “significant benefits” to pupils.

Each school is currently running with sizeable vacancies on the pupil rolls.

Caerphilly Council said this was a “key consideration” in its plans, with 38.8% surplus places at Lewis Girls and 41.84% at Lewis School Pengam.

It noted Caerphilly was “the only council area in Wales to still operate single sex comprehensive schools” and some families faced “division” when siblings were split from each other as they left primary school.

The proposal to merge the two schools is at the early stages and any formal plans will go through a public consultation before coming into force.

Proposals

Caerphilly Council may also consider opening a new school site and leisure facilities in the area as part of its reforms.

Land next to the existing Heolddu School, in Bargoed, has been earmarked for this development.

“These are an exciting set of proposals which could deliver significant benefits for our pupils and the wider community across the Upper Rhymney Valley,” said Cllr Andrews.

“We are still in the early stages and all stakeholders will get the chance to have their say as we move through the decision-making process. We will keep everyone updated over the coming months as we take these ambitious proposals forward.”

Hefin David, the Senedd member for Caerphilly, urged people to get involved when the council launched its consultation on the plans.

He said: “It’s vitally important that all parents, young people and teachers in the communities affected by this consultation have their say. I also want to hear views, if people wish to get in touch with me.”


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