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New £17m Welsh and English school campus could be ready in 2027

14 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Artist impression of the proposed campus for Upper Rhymney Primary School and Ysgol Y Lawnt. Credit: CCBC

Nicholas Thomas Local Democracy Reporter

A new dual-language school campus could open in September 2027, barring any unexpected delays.

Caerphilly Council’s education scrutiny committee gave their backing to the proposal to relocate Ysgol Y Lawnt and Upper Rhymney Primary School, at a meeting on Tuesday March 12.

The £17 million project will bring the schools onto one site, where they will be run separately but with some use of shared facilities.

Listed building

There is uncertainty about the future of the current site of the Welsh-medium Ysgol Y Lawnt, however, because it is listed with Cadw and would have restrictions in place on how it could be used.

Committee member John Roberts asked whether that land would be “up for grabs” and whether the council’s ability to reuse the site would have “long-term implications”.

Andrea West, the council’s place-shaping and sustainable communities for learning service manager, said the Welsh Government’s first consideration for the site would be a use that would further the Welsh language.

Failing that, the council could then look at other potential uses for the Ysgol Y Lawnt site.

Cllr Roberts noted another Welsh school, in his Aber Valley ward, had been closed for “15-plus years” and its former location was “still an empty site”.

Sustainability

The new Rhymney campus, however, will be “sustainable” and will also house facilities for community use.

Caerphilly Council will contribute slightly more than £6m to the project, and the Welsh Government will foot the rest of the bill.

A consultation which ran in early 2024 asked parents, governors and staff for their views on the project.

Some concerns were raised about pupils having to travel further to school, and Ms West told the committee there would be “winners and losers”, with other pupils living closer to the new site than to their current schools.

Ms West also sought to reassure people worried about how a shared use of the site would work. She said the new schools would be “separate entities with shared facilities” and a joint committee would be in place to make sure they “run correctly”.

The new campus will include a bilingual reception area, and a hall and canteen which can be “subdivided” to ensure pupils are served “in the appropriate language medium for each school”, according to a council report.

Caerphilly Council’s cabinet members are expected to approve the new campus project in April.


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