New Welsh medium school expected to open next year after ‘disappointing’ delay
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
A new Welsh medium school is expected to open in Monmouth in September 2023 amid criticism about the time it is taking.
Plans for Monmouthshire’s third Welsh language school were announced in 2018, but the development has been held back due to a lack of available land.
A report says Monmouthshire council has also considered sites further afield, but these were considered unsuitable.
At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Labour and Abergavenny councillor Tudor Thomas said he was ‘disappointed’ by the amount of time it has taken to establish the new school.
The opening of the seedling school and nursery is included in the council’s first ten-year Welsh in Education Strategic Plan, which was approved by the council’s cabinet on Wednesday.
The county currently has two Welsh medium schools – Ysgol Y Ffin in Caldicot and Ysgol Y Fenni in Abergavenny – but a new school in the Monmouth area will make provision more accessible for those in the north east of the county.
Cllr Thomas said that for some, the current travelling distances to a Welsh medium school “does put people off”.
However Cllr Paul Pavia, cabinet member for education, said finding a suitable site was “not an easy issue to resolve” – but that the council believes it has now found a solution.
“We do believe we have got a solution to that seedling provision,” he said.
“We are working very closely with a particular school’s governing body.
“Those discussions are certainly progressing at pace which will allow us to start provision in September 2023.”
The council new Welsh in Education Strategic Plan also includes the relocation of Ysgol Y Fenni to the current site of Deri View primary school in 2024, increasing its capacity from 317 to 420.
The completion of building work at Ysgol Y Ffin in 2022 will also increase its capacity to 210, with a nursery and childcare provision on the same site.
A school transport review, to ensure all learners in the county have a realistic option of choosing a Welsh-medium education, is also included in the 10-year plan.
Cllr Pavia said the “ambitious plan” would help the council play its part in meeting the Welsh Government aim of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
Council leader, Cllr Richard John, said the plan demonstrates the council’s commitment to ensure parents have “a meaningful choice” between English and Welsh medium education.
“This is a major development for Welsh medium education in Monmouthshire,” he said.
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