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Plans to increase pupil numbers at local Welsh-medium school enter final stage

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 9th, 2019.

Plans to increase pupil numbers at a Welsh-medium primary school in Wrexham have entered their final stage.

Executive board members were yesterday asked to back proposals to publish the relevant statutory notices regarding the proposal to increase pupil capacity at Ysgol Bro Alun in Gwersyllt.

The £5.9 million school in Gwersyllt opened in 2013 to help meet the increased demand for Welsh medium provision in the area and currently has provision for 210 pupils.

Plans were unveiled last autumn to increase the maximum pupil capacity at the school to 315 – with an additional 15 places for nursery and reception classes set to be available from September this year.

The annual admission number will then increase by 15 places (from 30 to 45) for nursery and reception places from 2019 onwards and these classes will feed through the school until the maximum capacity of 315 (plus 45 nursery places) has been reached.

To accomodate the increased pupil numbers it has also been proposed that an extension is built at the school.

A consultation over the proposals took place between October 3rd 2018 and November 15th 2018 and received a low public response – with just 14 people submitting responses.

Of these 14 responses 13 are described as being in positive of the increase and one was fell outside the remit of the consultation.

Speaking at yesterday’s meeting Cllr Phil Wynn, lead member for education, said: “There is a clear need to provide additional pupil capacity at Ysgol Bro Alun based on parental first preferences for the school exceeding current capacity for September 2019’s intake.

“For this reason, I welcome the opportunity to recommend we proceed to the next stage which involves the issuing of statutory notices.”

However leader of the labour group, Cllr Dana Davies questioned whether if the school has the potential to expand to a 420 capacity if needed in the future.

Cllr Davies said: “I am sure Cllr Wynn will remember we had a topic-selection from a member of the public with regards to school places at Ysgol Bro Alun a few years ago. There has been pressure and demand on the school since the day it was built.

“The report talks about the size of the school and it implies the maximum it would go to is a 315. I wanted confirmation that the school has the potential to go to a maximum of 420 if we do need to expand it again.

“My second question is the report and comments from Estyn talk about reviewing the senior leadership team as it is shared at the minute between Ysgol Plas Coch and Ysgol Bro Alun. Is that something you are considering and is there a timeframe?”

Cllr Davies was told that the “site naturally lends itself to a 315 capacity” and that whilst there is no “immediate need” for a restructure, it is up to the governing body and senior leadership team to do so when they see fit.

Executive board members unanimously backed the report – with statutory notices expected to be published in the local press (The Leader) in the near future. A planning application for an extension to the school will also be submitted in due course.

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