PLANS to build a new Welsh school on the site of an existing Newport secondary are taking shape after an outline proposal was submitted to Welsh Government, the Argus can reveal.
Gwent’s only Welsh-medium secondary school which accepts pupils from out of county, Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool, will be full by 2016 and campaigners have been calling on politicians for more than a year to name a new site.
A Newport Council cabinet report published back in May said Gwent’s five authorities had been searching for a suitable new site “for some time” and came up with three options, the first being to refurbish Duffryn High School in Newport and establish a separate Welsh school to share the same site, financed by Newport, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Welsh Government.
The second was to find a site in Monmouthshire and bus Newport pupils to the north of Gwent, while the third option was to develop two sites, one in the north and another in the south, namely Newport.
The new build would provide “seedling provision” from September 2016 for around 70 to 80 pupils, rising to 500 by 2020, and 770 by 2021/22.
Despite the South East Wales Consortium initially backing the third option, the Argus understands that a strategic outline business case has been submitted to Welsh Government backing the Duffryn plan which involves “significant...capital investment for remodelling, refurbishing and extension” of the school.
If this is approved by Welsh Government, the consortia would then start work on a more detailed business case.
Monmouthshire’s 21st Century programme manager Simon Kneafsey said in a statement that they expected to hear by mid-August if the plan is accepted.
“The consortium’s preferred solution to meet the need in 2016 is the Newport Duffryn School site,” he said.
In a report on cabinet member decisions, which went before Monmouthshire council on Thursday, Mr Kneafsey said the council would commit £2.5 million towards the project with a further £2.5 million provided by Welsh Government.
“The requirement to provide additional Welsh medium secondary school places within the South East Consortium by September 2016 is to be met by the redevelopment of the Duffryn secondary school site in Newport,” says the report.
“To secure places in the Newport proposal, Newport have requested a financial contribution.”
The cash could be moved into the 2018/19 funding allocation to allow the council and the rest of the consortium more time to review the need for this provision and carry out the required feasibility studies, said the report.
A spokesman for Welsh Government said an application has been received and its consideration is still at a very early phase.
“As such it is too early to confirm a timescale but the local authority will be made aware of the decision in due course,” he said.