06 April 2011>
Caerphilly county borough council has this week (Tuesday 5th April) approved ambitious plans to overhaul Welsh medium education across the area.
The demand for Welsh secondary school places has been rising steadily over recent years, so the council needed to look at ways to increase capacity and agreed upon an exciting new vision as part of its '21st Century Schools' programme.
At the moment the county borough only has one Welsh secondary school – Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni in Fleur de Lys – and forecasts show that there will be an over capacity of almost 1,000 spaces by September 2020.
"It was clear that we needed an urgent solution to accommodate the increasing demand for Welsh places across the county borough," said Cllr Phil Bevan, CCBC cabinet member for education. "Our proposals mean that we can offer our children and young people an education system that is fit for the 21st Century and I'm sure parents will welcome this decision as it will benefit local pupils for many years to come."
Next year (Sept 2012), Year 7 pupils residing within the Caerphilly Basin will transfer to facilities to be developed on the site of the former St Ilan Comprehensive School in Caerphilly for 11-14 year olds. The intention longer term is to replicate these arrangements in other parts of the county allowing the Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni site to further develop as a 'centre of excellence' for pupils aged 14 to 19.
This £3.5million scheme is 'Phase 1' of a proposed £10million plan to address Welsh Medium provision in the wider Caerphilly Basin area. Phase 1 involves upgrade of the 'Phoenix' building on the St Ilan site (phase 1A), together with the provision of a sports hall and changing facilities (phase 1B).
Phase 1A would be completed for the Year 7 intake of Caerphilly Basin pupils by September 2012 with phase 1B completed by December 2012.
A recent public meeting involving governors and local parents with children affected by the proposals was held in Caerphilly. The plans were explained in detail to those present and overall they were well received by the community.
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