CONTENTIOUS changes to secondary school catchment areas in parts of Monmouthshire have been approved by senior councillors.

From September 2020, Usk, Trellech and Llandogo primary schools will come within Monmouthshire Comprehensive’s catchment, having previously fallen within reach of Caerleon Comprehensive in Newport.

The catchment area for Abergavenny’s King Henry VIII Comprehensive will also be expanded to include Goytre Fawr primary school.

South Wales Argus: Parents attend a consultation on the catchment changes at Usk Church in Wales PrimaryParents attend a consultation on the catchment changes at Usk Church in Wales Primary

Council leader Peter Fox said the shake-up was a “no-brainer” given arrangements were unchanged for up to 30 years.

READ MOREMonmouthshire school catchment shake-up needed after 'decades of unfairness'

He told cabinet colleagues on April 3: “We’ve just invested nigh on £90 million on two of the most advanced schools in the whole of Wales, and we’re going to put another two in place.

“It’s only right that we invest for Monmouthshire children and they should have an opportunity to access those facilities.”

Monmouthshire Comprehensive is one of the two new-build facilities constructed within the first phase of the 21st Century Schools programme, with the other being Caldicot School.

South Wales Argus: Caldicot SchoolCaldicot School

Some parents had concerns that their children could be separated from siblings or friends attending Caerleon once the changes come into effect.

READ MORE: Parents concerned over proposed changes to school catchment areas in Monmouthshire

Councillor Richard John, cabinet member for children and young people, said no place at any school in the authority was guaranteed.

“It’s a difficult position to be in, and it’s difficult to reassure parents,” said Cllr John.

But Cllr John was confident that siblings living outside of Caerleon’s catchment could still secure places there, given that the school has previously accepted such applications.

Parents were told during the consultation that Monmouthshire had no way to influence Newport’s admissions policy.

Objectors had also claimed that some cabinet members had “vested interests” as they had children who would be attending the affected schools once the changes were in place.

Cllrs John and Sara Jones decided to abstain from voting on the Monmouthshire Comprehensive catchment, even though legal officers had said they had no prejudicial or personal interest.

Changing the two catchment areas will have a financial impact on Monmouthshire council, which provides free home-to-school transport to the catchment or nearest suitable school.

Costs could mount up to an extra £150,000 per year until 2023/24, according to a council report.