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NEW VISION FOR CITY'S SCHOOLS; Primary earmarked for closure as part of council's pounds 170m proposals.

Byline: Aled Blake

CARDIFF council unveiled its pounds 170m vision for education in the city - as it announced it would close one primary school.

The plans outline where the council wants investment, with five secondary schools up for extra money and dozens of primary schools in line for more funding.

But the council revealed that Pen y Bryn Primary School in Llanrumney is to close, blaming surplus places for the decision.

A new primary school in Pontprennau will be developed. And, as news of the plan filtered down to communities, there were worries that proposals to amalgamate some nurseries into primary schools had not been properly thought through.

The council's schools sub-committee is to pick over the reorganisation - which includes a massive upgrade of Cardiff's schools' IT systems - when it meets on Friday.

Cardiff council said the proposals aimed to provide investment in English-medium and Welsh-medium provision, reduce the backlog of school building repairs significantly, and see the creation of all-through three to 11-year-old primary schools.

The Assembly Government recently launched a new funding programme - the 21st Century Schools Programme - aimed at investment in schools in Wales.

Funding will be available from 2012 and it is anticipated that it will continue for 15 years or more, initially in four bands, with each band spanning a three-year period.

All local authorities have been invited to submit a strategic outline programme to develop a strategic overview of the future of the authority's education provision. Geraint Rees, head teacher adviser at Cardiff council and one of the architects of the plan, said: "There are key agendas being made here. We are making sure every child has access to a Welsh-medium or English-medium school according to what their parent wants.

"There is a significant upgrade in the fabric of schools and IT provision.

This is a new crop of investments needed, under the 21st Century Schools programme it's being called, coupled with targeted investment for more than 40 establishments."

Graham Dalton, Cardiff council's schools organisation planning manager, said the time was right to open a new school in Pontprennau.

He added: "We have looked creatively at how best to get local schools to local children by investing in what we've got."

The council confirmed the establishment of a pounds 9m Welsh-medium primary school on land off Sanatorium Road in Canton.

The proposal would involve Ysgol Treganna transferring to the new premises as a three form of entry Welsh-medium primary school with nursery, while Ysgol Tan yr Eos would close with pupils transferring to the enlarged Ysgol Treganna once on the new site.

The growing demand for Welshmedium education has been compounded by the fact that the population has been rising in the west of the city in the past three years.

Officers have developed this proposal as a matter of urgency to respond to these issues and now believe that the only option available is to build a new school.

No existing English-medium provision will be closed or reduced in capacity as a result of this proposal.

However, there was already disquiet from parents over the plans last night.

Matt Greenough, chairman of governors at Tremorfa Nursery School, said there had been no consultation over the proposal to merge the school with Baden Powell Primary.

He said: "We've been waiting for the best part of two years for the green light on the last crazy amalgamation/closure proposal. And without any warning, along comes another entirely different proposal.

"There is so little detail in what has been released so far it is impossible to identify any logic in the new suggestions. One inescapable fact is clear, however, this is not an amalgamation, this is a proposal to close Tremorfa Nursery School.

"Parents, governors and the wider community have already voiced their total opposition to any closure. This is a nursery school that is rated first class, one of the best in the country. Experts come here from all over the world to witness best practise - this is a beacon of educational excellence in a deprived community. People just won't tolerate losing that kind of facility."

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN YOUR AREA: South Cardiff Fitzalan High School Area Significant increase in Welsh-medium provision and increases in English-medium capacities within the area. Additional nursery places in English and Welsh-medium, and consolidation and investment in Fitzalan High School at 10 forms of entry. Radnor Primary School and St Mary's RC Primary School would receive nursery provision with additional childcare facilities required at Mount Stuart Primary. Grangetown Nursery to amalgamate with Grangetown Primary School, becoming an integrated children's facility. Ysgol Pwll Coch should be expanded to three forms of entry and the new Ysgol Treganna at Sanatorium Road will absorb Tan yr Eos at three forms of entry with nursery when it opens.

Willows High School Area Additional capacity provided by increasing Baden Powell Primary by 0.5 form of entry to meet a small increase in birth rates in recent years, coupled with its amalgamation with Tremorfa Nursery School providing integrated children's services in partnership with the facilities being constructed at Adamsdown Primary School. This allows for the future development of a nursery at St Alban's RC Primary in partnership with the archdiocese. Consolidation of and investment in Willows High School is also part of the proposal. West Cardiff Glyn Derw High School, Michaelston Community College, Cantonian High School & Radyr Comprehensive Area Governors of Glyn Derw High School and Michaelston Community College are consulting on the federation of the schools and a reduction in capacity to 10 forms of entry supported with a bid for investment through 21st Century Schools. Officers consider that it is no longer prudent to propose a secondary school closure in the west of Cardiff due to a recent increase in birth rates.

An increase in capacity of 0.5 form of entry at Hywel Dda Primary School and an investment to provide nursery facilities at St Francis RC Primary School, while additional nursery capacity is also proposed for Herbert Thompson Primary. North Cardiff Llanishen High School & Llanedeyrn High School Area A new primary school with nursery in Pontprennau and nursery provision at Christ the King RC Primary School. Ysgol y Wern could be expanded to accommodate a further form of entry if demand for Welsh-medium education continues to grow in the area. Corpus Christi RC High School will be consolidated at seven forms of entry with the provision of a new hall which has been lacking since the school's construction.

Whitchurch High School Area The council's intention is to reduce Whitchurch High School from 12 to 10 forms of entry through the admissions procedures while proposals for primary school provision await determination by Welsh ministers. Gabalfa Primary School and Ysgol Glan Ceubal would both be consolidated as one form of entry schools on the site they currently share with development of integrated children's facilities providing services in both English and Welsh. East Cardiff Llanrumney High School & Rumney High School Area Significant level of surplus capacity in schools north of Newport Road. Pen y Bryn Primary School should be closed. Consolidation, investment and/or expansion in Bryn Hafod and Glan yr Afon Primary Schools with the further development of integrated children's facilities at Glan yr Afon. St Mellons Church in Wales School should be expanded by 0.5 form of entry with the addition of a nursery, while St Cadoc's RC Primary should also receive nursery provision.

CAPTION(S):

Five secondary schools and dozens of primary schools across the capital are in line for more funding
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 20, 2010
Words:1252
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