PUPILS at Millbrook Primary School in Newport may not move back onto the site until at least the start of 2026.

Inspectors effectively condemned the school site, in Bettws, in the summer of 2022, when they found structural problems in the main building.

This forced the school to move lessons – and pupils – to makeshift classrooms two miles away.

Those temporary arrangements have extended into a second academic year, and earlier in the autumn the city council finalised a plan to demolish Millbrook Primary and partly fund a new replacement.

In July last year, Millbrook Primary School welcomed the Duchess of Cornwall just before her 75th birthday celebrations. 

At a meeting of Newport City Council’s performance scrutiny committee for people, on Tuesday, November 28, councillors heard the earliest anticipated completion date for the new school would be January 2026.

Demolition of the unsafe existing buildings is scheduled for the summer of 2024.

Councillors are due to receive a report on the progress of the project in around six months’ time, committee chairman Will Routley told the meeting.

Bettws ward councillor Janet Cleverly noted a report which showed the council would “ensure [the] interim continuity of education for pupils” until teaching could resume at a new school.

Current “temporary arrangements” will continue in the meantime, according to the report.

“I’ve had lots of residents and parents continually asking what’s happening to Millbrook, and how soon can we move back,” Cllr Cleverly told the meeting.

She was told Millbrook Primary would be the council’s “priority project” and an application would be made for funding in a new round of the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme.

Since being closed down for safety reasons, the Millbrook Primary site has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour and trespassing, prompting the council to employ security guards to watch over the area.

The council has “increased security on the site” with CCTV and fencing also deployed to deter unwanted visitors.

The demolition of the school “remains on target for June or July next year”, the committee was told.

Cllr Routley asked for an “anticipated completion date” for the new school – and was told by the council’s chief education officer the “earliest completion date” would be “January 2026”.

But there was an admission that there were “too many unknowns” to be certain that the new school would be ready by then.

Millbrook Primary pupils will continue to attend lessons at their temporary base at the Brynglas Adult Training Centre for the rest of the current academic year.