Posted: Fri 30th Jun 2023

RCT to open consultation over proposed new £50m special school

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jun 30th, 2023

A consultation will be launched for people to share their views on plans for a new special school in Rhondda Cynon Taf. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report agreed by the council’s cabinet on Wednesday, June 28 recommended the council 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 changes
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.
The consultation is set to take place between July 3 and September 14 with reports then coming back to cabinet before a decision is made.
Councillor Maureen Webber, deputy leader of the council, mentioned conversations the leader had had with the former councillor for Tonteg about the aspirations for a new special school.
She said: “The availability of funding means now that we can bring those aspirations to fruition.”
She said they welcomed the opportunity to learn parents’ views and that they know that there are significant pressures in this area with capacity needing to grow to meet demand.
Councillor Christina Leyshon said it’s “fantastic news” that they can create a new special school in RCT.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, leader of the council, said this probably one of the most fundamental of the big decisions they’ve taken in terms of building new schools.
He said the site will give a good geographical location, good transport links and that it’s big and has a flat area.
He said they may need to consider whether two siblings might end up going to different schools under the catchment arrangements as they could end up running home to school transport to two different schools.
But the director of education Gaynor Davies said the ALN panel would consider any unique circumstances. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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



Spotted something? Got a story? Email News@News.Wales



More from Rhondda Council

Plans Revealed for Fourth Phase of Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route

Rhondda Council

Smallest School in Rhondda Cynon Taf to Close Despite Strong Opposition

Rhondda Council

Approval Granted for New Drive-Through Unit in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT)

Rhondda Council

Controls on street trading to be extended throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf amid concerns over mobile food vendors

Rhondda Council

Plans for Congestion Charge in RCT Unlikely, Council Leader Suggests Redistribution of Funds from Cardiff Charge

Rhondda Council

Patients Readied for Discharge in Welsh Health Board Area – Equivalent of One Hospital Full

Rhondda Council

Latest from News.Wales

Public Consultation Launched for ‘No-Gas’ Housing Development Near Maesteg

Bridgend Council

Opponents of Proposed “Super-Estate” in Wrexham Call for Public Meeting

Wrexham Council

Disused Newport leisure centre deemed safe by council officials

Newport Council

Plans Revealed for Fourth Phase of Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route

Rhondda Council

Fear of Diluted Local Voice in Vale of Glamorgan Community Council Changes

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Smallest School in Rhondda Cynon Taf to Close Despite Strong Opposition

Rhondda Council