Monmouthshire Welsh language school set for new location amid rising pupil numbers
Twm Owen Local Democracy Reporter
A Welsh language primary school in Monmouthshire that started with just 12 pupils 30 years ago is set to move into its fourth building, with 254 pupils currently on its roll.
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”.
The council will now consult on its previously announced plan to move the school to the former Deri View Primary, also in Abergavenny, which closed to form an all-through 3-19 School with the King Henry comprehensive – and which is set to move into a purpose-built building in autumn 2024.
Relocation to Deri View will allow the Welsh medium to increase its capacity to 420 places as well as provide 60 places in the meithrin nursery provision.
£1 million in capital funding to support the relocation and refurbishment works was agreed as part of the outline case for new 3-19 school.
Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet had to agree to start the consultation, which will run from January 29 to March 11.
The cabinet could make a final decision in July and pupils and teachers could move into the building from April 2025.
Cabinet member for education, Martyn Groucutt who represents the town’s Lansdown ward, said: “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.
Ysgol Gymraeg y Fenni opened in 1994.
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