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5th November 2019

Fears already expressed about new Cowbridge superschool plans

BY: Nathan Spackman

Fears have already been expressed about a proposed new superschool in Cowbridge as the public is asked about the plans.

Vale of Glamorgan Council is proposing to merge Cowbridge Comprehensive and Y Bont Faen Primary schools to create an ‘all-through school’ for pupils from three to 19 years old.

A public consultation is about to be launched on the £7.4million plans, which would see a new 420 place primary school building on the site of Cowbridge Comprehensive school.

But Cowbridge councillors have already objected to the council’s proposal, and say Y Bont Faen Primary is a good school and they don’t want it to close.

Cowbridge councillors Hunter Jarvie, Andrew Parker and Geoff Cox said in a joint statement: “Ward members welcome the proposal to build a new school on the Cowbridge Comprehensive school site and increasing its capacity to accommodate 420 primary places and 96 part-time nursery places.

“However, Ward members object to the proposal to amalgamate Y Bont Faen Primary with Cowbridge Comprehensive School and associated with this the change of management and disbanding the governing body. We believe that the council should instead look to extending the current good level of co-operation between the two schools.

“Y Bont Faen is a successful primary school which has a good reputation with parents of pupils and the wider community.”

Cllr Jarvie said: “There’s a lot of local feeling in Cowbridge. They feel the school has got a good history. They don’t want it to be subsumed by a superschool.”

Cllr Parker said: “The former pupils and current parents don’t want to lose the history and tradition of the school.”

The council said Y Bont Faen Primary is in a poor condition and has a maintenance backlog worth £301,990 of work.

With an all-through model, pupils would automatically move from the primary to the secondary phase removing the need to apply for a secondary school place.

The council is also planning to move Ysgol Iolo Morganwg to a new 420 place building elsewhere in Cowbridge, but this will be taken forward separately. 

The public consultation on the Cowbridge superschool, which was backed by the council’s ruling body on November 4, will begin on November 18.

Cabinet members Ben Gray and Kathryn McCaffer abstained from voting for the consultation.

Cllr Gray welcomed plans for a new primary school building but said: “I’m concerned we’re tilting this towards amalgamation from the outset.

“I don’t think this is the this is the right approach for the consultation.”

Council leader Neil Moore replied: “I don’t think we can go to consultation without a preferred way forward.

“There would obviously be some changes in terms of leadership but that can be considered through the consultation.

“This is not making any decision – if people are against it we can change it. We’ve done that in the past and we can do that again.”

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