The Vale of Glamorgan Council has announced its intention to build a new £7.4m Welsh medium primary school in Barry, with capacity for 420 school pupils and 96 nursery places.
On Monday the Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve a period of public consultation on a proposal that would see Ysgol St Baruc, which currently has capacity for 210 children, relocated to a brand new building with space for more than double this number.
Demand for a bilingual education in Barry has increased by more than a quarter in the last ten years. Current projections suggest that the ongoing Barry Waterfront development will further add to this demand.
It is also anticipated that the Council’s strategy to promote bilingual education in line with Welsh Government’s ‘Cymraeg 2050’ agenda will further increase the demand for Welsh medium places in future years.
Cllr John Thomas, Leader of the Council, said: “Welsh medium education is increasing in popularity and has seen significant growth since Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg opened in 2000. The Council needs to plan its school provision in line with this.
“A new Welsh medium primary school on the Waterfront will remove the need for many pupils and parents to travel across the town to school each day. Alongside a remodelling of school catchment areas elsewhere in Barry this will lead to an increase in spaces at other schools.”
The current Ysgol St Baruc operates from a Victorian building and a two classroom block built in the 1980s. The school is on a very confined sloping site with no prospect of any significant expansion. The classrooms are too small for the number of pupils and the school currently uses the dining facilities at the adjacent High Street Primary School as there are no catering facilities on site.
Establishing a new primary school on the Waterfront is likely to lead to changes to the catchment areas of High Street, Holton and Ysgol St Baruc Primary schools.
If the recommendations of the report are agreed by cabinet on 17 December, the public consultation will run from 8 January 2019 to 22 February 2019.
Cllr Bob Penrose, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet member for Learning and Culture, said: “The new school on the Waterfront is a key element of the Council’s £143 million ‘Band B’ programme, working with Welsh Government to build numerous new and remodelled schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.
“In Barry, the programme also includes work to deliver three mixed-sex secondary schools, namely Whitmore High School, Pencoedtre High School and Ysgol Cymraeg Bro Morgannwg, all benefitting from either new school buildings or extensive remodelling at a cost of approximately £70 million. The Council is proud to have such an ambitious programme, which proposes to deliver new 21st century schools throughout the Vale of Glamorgan, including the communities of Cowbridge, Colwinston, Rhoose, St Nicholas and Penarth. This provides firm evidence of the Council’s commitment to pupil learning in the future.”