Cabinet has agreed to implement proposals to invest £37.4m in schools across Pontypridd, having considered the outcome of three Statutory Notices.
On Thursday, July 18, Cabinet agreed with recommendations outlined in an Officer report. These include significantly improving facilities to benefit 4,000 pupils across Pontypridd, while also making sixth forms more effective and viable, helping schools to manage their finances and increasing Welsh Medium places.
The ambitious proposals will see £4.7m invested in a 3-16 school at Pontypridd High School, £12m on a 3-16 school at Hawthorn High, £10.7m on a new Welsh Medium Primary School at Heol y Celyn Primary, and £10m on a sixth form Centre of Excellence at Bryncelynnog Comprehensive.
Following Cabinet’s approval in March 2019, the Council published four Statutory Notices on April 30 in relation to implementing these changes. This was followed by a period for objections which ended on May 31, 2019.
Three of the Notices relate to the creation of 3-16 ‘all through’ schools on the Pontypridd High and Hawthorn High sites, and a new Welsh Medium Primary School at Heol y Celyn. Following Cabinet’s approval on Thursday, the proposed changes will be delivered by September 2022.
A Statutory Notice relating to Cardinal Newman RC Comprehensive’s sixth form, which also forms part of these proposals, is being determined by Welsh Government in accordance with the School Organisation Code. In total, 435 objections were received.
Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education & Inclusion, said: “The proposals put before Cabinet today provide the opportunity to transform the delivery of education in the greater Pontypridd area. The plans approved by members ensure that the Council is able to provide the best opportunities for young people in the greater Pontypridd Area, by investing more than £37m.
“This includes better access to a greater range of choices and opportunities for post-16 learners by making sixth form arrangement more effective and viable. In doing so, the proposals also aim to provide the ability for schools to focus their financial resources towards Key Stage 3 & 4, which would also reduce significant financial deficits.
“These proposals also seek to improve education facilities and provide the same access to modern 21st Century schools – which has already been achieved in other areas across Rhondda Cynon Taf to date.
“Through the changes agreed to the delivery of Welsh Medium education, the Council will increase Welsh Medium places in the greater Pontypridd area, which in turn will support the wider ambitions of the Council to grow the number of Welsh speakers in our County Borough. Taken together, the full range of these proposals will benefit over 4,000 pupils across Pontypridd.”