Newport school merger would cost £3.8m
PLANS to merge two Newport schools and create a new special school would cost around £3.8 million.
Newport council has set aside the sum whilst a consultation on the proposals is carried out.
If given the go-ahead Gaer Infants and Junior schools could be amalgamated and a new Autistic Spectrum Disorder special school catering for youngsters up to GCSE level would be created in the former infants building.
Speech and language therapy would be available on-site but talks continue about the full range of services with the Aneurin Bevan Health Board.
Staff who attended a meeting last month learned the new special school would offer places for 48 to 54 children, including those who already attend the autistic unit at Brynglas Primary.
Pupils from neighbouring authorities could also be accepted, and autistic pupils from the city’s Maes Ebbw Special School could relocate if they wish, opening up places there for youngsters with more complex needs.
Minutes from the meeting say one staff member is needed for every eight to ten pupils and employees at the Brynglas School facility would be redeployed where possible. Although a shadow governing body set up for the new school will ultimately determine the staffing structure and appoint a head teacher if agreed.
Parents who attended a separate meeting were reassured that meetings would take place to assess each child’s individual needs before any pupils are relocated.
Damien Lane, whose son Alex, nine, goes to the Brynglas unit, previously told the Argus that there was no provision for pupils past the age of 11, and welcomed somewhere in Newport which could support him beyond that.
The proposals are part of larger plans to amalgamate four city schools to tackle falling pupil numbers.
This includes bringing youngsters from Crindau and Brynglas together on the Crindau site in a new school for 420 pupils with 40 nursery spaces.
Gaer Juniors and Infants could come together as one, 3 to11 age primary school, while the Brynglas site could become home to Newport’s newest Welsh-medium primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon, currently based at Maindee Primary.
If agreed the new schools could be open in September 2013.
Have your say on the plans until January 18 online at newport.gov.uk/haveyoursay