A group campaigning for increased Welsh-medium provision in Wrexham have welcomed the council’s plans to open a new school to help accomodate the increasing demand.
In September 2017 Wrexham.com reported that Wrexham Council had unveiled plans to set-up a new Welsh medium primary school with capacity for 210 pupils.
Initially a ‘seed school’ accommodating 105 pupils would be based at the former and now vacant Hafod Y Wern Infant School in Caia Park. The school would then relocate to the infant school at Borras Park, once the the amalgamation of Borras Infants and Junior schools is complete.
The first year of entry would be September 2019 for nursery (15 places) and reception (15 places) classes only.
The proposals were put forward to help meet the growing demand for Welsh-medium education in the county borough.
Over the past six weeks Wrexham Council have been running a consultation to get feedback on the proposals for the new school. The consultation itself closed last week.
Further details on the plans are expected to be revealed at December’s Executive Board, with the current Forward Work Programme stating that ‘permission to publish statutory notices on the new Welsh medium primary school’ is on the agenda for the meeting on the 12th.
The proposed school has been welcomed by RhAG (Rhieni dros Addysg Gymraeg) – a society campaigning on behalf of parents, who have previously raised concerns with Wrexham Council about the lack of Welsh-medium school in the county.
Commenting on Wrexham Council’s plans, Rhodri Davies, Chairman of Wrexham RhAG said the group had been calling for sometime to increase the Welsh Medium primary school provision in the area.
He continued: “In recent years, many of the county’s Welsh medium schools have been under great pressure – the reception class in four of the six schools were full in September 2017. This has meant that many parents have failed to secure a place at the nearest school to their home and that siblings have been separated.
“We are very pleased that the Local Authority recognises the need to act in order to alleviate the increasing pressure in the north of the County and respond to the tremendous growth in the general demand for Welsh-medium education in the area.
“Recent growth patterns prove that the demand for Welsh-medium education in Wrexham will increase in the next few years; developing this new provision will be an important step in ensuring that more parents are able to choose Welsh-medium education and that provision is more locally available.
“However, the proposal does not address the immediate challenges that currently exist. We urge the Local Authority, as part of this proposal to put in place temporary measures, including increasing school admission numbers and temporary building provision, for September 2018.”
The group are also calling on Wrexham Council to examine the implications another Welsh-medium primary school could have on Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, the only secondary school in Wrexham that provides education in Welsh.
Rhodri said: “It is also time to consider establishing a second Welsh-medium secondary provision in Wrexham to ensure seamless continuity of provision for the increasing numbers that choose Welsh medium education in the area.
“We strongly recommend that the Executive Board approves this proposal, in order to make further progress in terms of promoting the growth of Welsh medium education in the County as well as contributing to the Welsh Government’s target of having a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”