Welsh medium school expansion delayed because of Covid-19
Emily Gill, local democracy reporter
A proposal to extend the age range at a Welsh-medium secondary school will be delayed for a year due to Covid-19.
Torfaen council’s cabinet had previously approved plans to extend the age range of Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Trevethin, Pontypool from 11-18 to three-18 from September 2021.
However, the move to include primary school students at Gwent’s longest-running Welsh-medium secondary school will be delayed by a year to September 2022 because of a lack of applications in the wake of the pandemic
A report on the proposal to delay says that the council received only seven applications for the nursery and one for the reception class for September 2021.
The council said this was not financially viable and this would not offer an appropriate teaching and learning experience for the children.
‘Increase its intake’
A council spokesperson said: “The school is a seedling facility which will increase its intake over time.
“The new school building will open in September 2022 and pupil projections support that demand is expected to grow.
“All of the pupils that applied for a place this year will be offered a place at an alternative Welsh medium school or setting.”
The increase in age range will be supported with a new building, which can cater for up to 210 primary school pupils.
A report says: “Due to the Covid pandemic, the design and construction of the new building has been delayed and will not be completed until the summer of 2022.
“However, plans were put in place to overcome this and open the new Reception class provision in an existing building on the school site for September 2021. They would then transfer to the new building in the summer of 2022.”
The council had also planned to change the catchment area for the school, but this will also be delayed for an extra year in line with the expansion.
Prior to the opening, in 2017, of Ysgol Gyfun Gwent Is Coed, in Duffryn, Newport, Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw was the only Welsh medium secondary school in Gwent.
Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw has more than 800 11-18 year-old pupils on its school roll.