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Senior councillors back major changes to schools across county borough

04 Apr 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

Senior councillors have backed major changes to schools across a county borough.

A new secondary school, a bilingual primary campus, a merger, and a closure have all moved a step closer under new plans approved by Caerphilly Council’s cabinet members on Wednesday (April 3).

In the Pengam area, parents and pupils will soon have their say on plans to merge Lewis Girls School and Lewis School Pengam – reportedly the last remaining single-sex schools in Wales.

At the meeting, cabinet members agreed to launch a public consultation after hearing the proposals had won the support of local headteachers.

Lewis Girls School, Ystrad Mynach

Plan

A council report showed the heads of the two Lewis schools, as well as their colleagues in charge at Heolddu Comprehensive and Idris Davies School, backed the plan, saying families could be “brought together and reunited”.

The merger of the girls’ and boys’ schools would “avoid the division that some experience when, due to the current arrangement of schools, children from the same family are split apart at age 11”, the headteachers said.

Plans for the area suggest Lewis Girls School will eventually close down after a transition period, and could also mean a new secondary school is built on land opposite the current Heolddu Comprehensive site.

Cabinet members also agreed to move to the planning application stage for a new bilingual campus for Ysgol Y Lawnt and Upper Rhymney Primary School, in Rhymney.

A recent consultation had prompted just two objections to the plans, which will involve the two schools moving into a single £17 million campus but continuing to be run separately.

Carol Andrews, the cabinet member for education, said the new campus would be home to “sustainable school buildings with shared facilities”.

Cwm Glas Infants School in Llanbradach

Education

Jamie Pritchard, the council’s deputy leader, said the move to “invest in education” was “something we care passionately about”.

Finally, there was a more sombre mood as the cabinet agreed to finalise the closure of Cwm Glas Infants School, in Llanbradach, where falling pupil numbers mean it is a “significant challenge” to maintain a balanced budget.

The cabinet members’ decision means Cwm Glas will close its doors for the final time on July 20.


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