Cabinet will consider the consultation response to 21st Century Schools proposals to invest £37.4m in education across the greater Pontypridd area. In a report, Officers recommend making one amendment to the proposals – not to proceed with changes to the catchment area of Bryncelynnog Comprehensive School.
It therefore recommends Gwauncelyn Primary School remains within the catchment of Bryncelynnog.
At their meeting on March 21, Members will consider feedback received in an extensive consultation on the proposals, which would deliver brand new education facilities across Pontypridd by 2022, in the Council’s latest wave of 21st Century Schools investment. The Council consulted on:
- The development of post-16 provision at Bryncelynnog Comprehensive in Beddau and Coleg y Cymoedd in Nantgarw – with £10m invested in the Bryncelynnog provision. Students opting for a Roman Catholic education could attend St David’s College, Cardiff.
- The creation of two new 3-16 schools in Pontypridd and Hawthorn, investing £4.7m in Pontypridd High and £12m at Hawthorn schools.
- Improving and increasing Welsh Medium primary provision with a new £10.7m school on the Heol-y-Celyn Primary School site, to incorporate Welsh Medium provisions at Heol-y-Celyn and YGG Pont Sion Norton.
- Amending the catchment areas of Pontypridd High, Hawthorn High and Bryncelynnog Comprehensive, to better meet demand for places.
- Improving learning environments for Additional Learning Needs pupils.
Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “As a Council we have already made clear that we want to engage with residents in respect of these proposals, to inform our future decision-making. In advance of the Cabinet meeting on March 21, we will be carefully considering the comments and views received through the extensive three-month consultation process, alongside the wider rationale behind these proposals.
“The consultation report recommends Cabinet agrees the proposals consulted upon with one amendment – not to proceed with the proposed change to Bryncelynnog Comprehensive’s catchment area. The report outlines that this amendment has been recommended following consideration of a major housing development at Llanilid – which has progressed since the school consultation started.
“For the site to be developed, a new secondary school will be required, which will have an impact on a number of other secondary schools. Furthermore, the Council’s Local Development Plan will need to be reviewed in 2021, which will inevitably consider new housing sites along the A473 corridor from Llanharan to Tonteg.
“It is therefore proposed that the secondary catchment areas are monitored over the next 5-10 years, taking into account the planned developments and the future new Local Development Plan, to ensure sufficient school places are available across the County Borough.
“The wider proposal for the greater Pontypridd area, if agreed, would see a £37.4m investment made in education, with a 65% contribution from the Welsh Government. These proposals seek to deliver the same modern learning environments as the Council has successfully delivered in Rhondda, Cynon Valley, Tonyrefail and Y Pant.
“Between October and the end of January, the Council has undertaken significant engagement, well above the prescribed level, around the 2022 education proposals for Pontypridd, which would deliver £16.7m investment in the current Pontypridd High and Hawthorn High/Primary sites. The proposals also focus on improving and increasing Welsh Medium primary provision with a brand new £10.7m school. There is also a proposed £10m investment to improve Bryncelynnog Comprehensive School’s sixth form facilities."
An extensive consultation took place between October 15, 2018, and January 31, 2019. Information was available on the Council’s website, where residents could have their say on the proposals. Throughout November, officers held meetings with governors and staff, and school councils, at eight schools.
The Council also held five public meetings between January 15 and January 24, where officers were on hand to answer queries on any of the proposals. In total, 187 people attended across the events. A meeting with the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee was held on December 19, where the proposals were presented, further explored and feedback provided.
The Council also consulted with Estyn, the education inspectorate for Wales, which concluded that all of proposals are likely to at least maintain the current standards of education.
Across the consultation, a total of 2,168 questionnaires were received, along with 427 written responses. A summary of these responses is included in the consultation report, which will be put before Cabinet at the March 21 meeting.
If Cabinet agrees the revised proposals on Thursday, four statutory notices will be published in April 2019.
Posted on Thursday 14th March 2019