Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

More details released on plans for new special school in Rhondda Cynon Taf

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

More details have been released on plans for a new special school in Rhondda Cynon Taf. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report to the council’s cabinet on Wednesday, June 28, will recommend it starts a consultation on building a new 3-19 special school in the county borough. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The consultation is proposing that the new special school be built on the site of the council headquarters in Clydach Vale, which the council is set to leave. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The consultation will also include catchment areas for the current 3-19 special schools – which are Park Lane Special School, Ysgol Hen Felin and Ysgol Ty Coch. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report said that children and young people who wish to remain in their existing special school special school following the catchment change can continue to do so. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

However, all new placements will be under the revised catchment areas once the changes are put in place, so that children attend their local special school. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The cabinet report highlighted the pressures faced by RCT’s special schools as the number of pupils are increasing each year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It said children’s needs are becoming more complex and there is a need to meet demand for placements for some of the most vulnerable children living in the area. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It said that since February 2021, the special school population has grown by 94, which it said is a “significant growth.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report said that alternatives to expand the existing special school sites have been exhausted and the only feasible alternative is to build a new 3 to 19 special school on a new site. It added that this will significantly grow the special school provision and increase the number of special schools in RCT from four to five. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There are currently 670 pupils at four special schools across RCT which are: Maesgwyn Special School in Cwmdare, Park Lane Special School in Trecynon,  Ysgol Hen Felin in Ystrad, Tonypandy and Ysgol Ty Coch in Tonteg with Buarth y Capel in Ynysybwl being a satellite site of Ysgol Ty Coch. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The agreed capital funding to deliver a new special school is £53.4 million, with the Welsh Government funding this project by up to 75%. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report said that the majority of pupils (75.9%) currently accessing the special schools across RCT use home to school transport. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The new school would have dedicated on-site drop off and pick up facilities making this process safe, less disruptive for the community and manageable for staff, the report added. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There would also be a review of safe routes to school and, if required, an investment in improvements to walkways, road crossings and traffic calming measures to ensure the required safety standards are met. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

If agreed by cabinet, a consultation would take place between July 3 and September 14 with reports then coming back to cabinet before a decision is made. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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