Three new names approved Pontypridd schools after councillors meet
The names for three new schools in Pontypridd have been approved by councillors.
A report approved by Rhondda Cynon Taf’s cabinet on Monday, May 15 included the names put forward by the school’s temporary governing bodies.
For the new 3-16 school in Pontypridd, the new name is set to be Ysgol Bro Taf, for the new 3-16 school in Hawthorn, it is set to be Ysgol Afon Wen, and for the new Welsh medium primary school in Rhydyfelin, it is set to be Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Awel Taf.
The cabinet report said that Ysgol Afon Wen had received the highest number of votes (36%) in the consultation for the name for the new school in Hawthorn, which reflected the outcome of the consultation carried out with pupils and staff at the three affected schools.
It said that Ysgol Pontypridd had received the highest number of votes (40%) followed by Ysgol Bro Taf (17%) in the consultation for the name of the new school in Pontypridd which the report said did not reflect the results of the consultation carried out with pupils and staff of the schools affected, which had Ysgol Bro Taf as the preferred choice.
For the new Welsh medium school in Rhydyfelin, the report said Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Awel Y Taf had received the highest number of votes (52%).
It said that governors noted in the meeting that the grammatically correct name would be Awel Taf and that the outcome was reflective of the result of the consultation carried out with pupils and staff of both schools affected.
The report also said that during the engagement process, issues were raised in relation to the cost of new uniforms and branding and said that these concerns would be further discussed in line with the remit of the temporary governing bodies during the summer term, 2023, and due process would be followed in line with all Welsh Government guidance.
It said concerns were also raised around the locations of some of the new schools but said that these concerns were consulted upon and addressed previously in the statutory school organisation consultation which was subsequently approved by cabinet in July 2019.
Councillor Cathy Lisles, who represents Hawthorn and Lower Rhydfelen said that Afon Taf, the River Taff and Y Ddraenen Wen, White Hawthorn the name of the village where the school is situated have bounded it since a school was first built on this site some 145 years ago.
She said the new name chosen by the majority of those consulted neatly combines an element from both the things that will always surround it, the river and the community to make the new name for the school of Afon Wen or White River.
Cllr Lisles said the rules to choose a new name for all the new schools in the area have now been followed correctly, finishing with a public consultation which made it clear that the name of the school should not be misleading as to the location of the school in any way.
She said a democratic decision on the names, primarily taking into account the views of the children of all the schools concerned has been made.
She said this is then followed by a more public consultation where anyone is able to respond but that it is only available online and asked for greater publicity and facilitation of community involvement for any such future consultations.
Cllr Lisles said one third of respondents chose Afon Wen and one quarter chose other – with many indicating in their comments a preference for the name of Hawthorn or Y Ddraenen Wen to be retained.
She said back in 2018 when the consultation on moving to all-age schools was begun, no one knew that this might involve a further consultation, let alone a change of name for the school in the area and losing the name Hawthorn or even Y Ddraenen Wen is a sadness felt by many.
She asked for information on this point to be included in relation to any further school reorganisation consultations.
She said people are proud of the prior achievements of pupils at the school and consider that this history would give current students something to aspire towards and that locals will still refer to it as The Hawthorn School.
Cllr Lisles added: “Be that as it may, residents accept that a democratic decision has been made and look forward to being part of the future of the new all-age school as it becomes one of the Community Focussed Schools in the county.
“However, residents have suggested that as an aid to those who do not speak Welsh as fluently as others that the English versions of the names could be included on signage as well, as for example for the name of the new school at Heol Y Celyn could be labelled as both Awel Taf and Taff Breeze.
“I would just like to finish by pointing out one small error in the report in front of you – it is stated that Bro Taf, Taff Vale School came second in the latest public consultation. This is incorrect. At the time that the first public consultation was run, 43% of respondents chose Bro Taf as the name for the school.”
“This time, 40% chose Ysgol Pontypridd and 31% chose Ysgol Gymunedol Pontypridd with just eighty two or 17% choosing Bro Taf. Three quarters of respondents to this survey were parents or pupils at the school but because no cross-tabulations have been produced within the report between responses and types of respondent, it is not clear how pupils responded to this public consultation element of the process.”
Councillor Rhys Lewis said the report represents the next exciting step as part of the council’s Greater Pontypridd school plan.
He said the school names have been chosen by a public consultation and confirmed by the governing bodies following careful consideration with the views of pupils at the heart of the name choices.
Councillor Andrew Morgan said they got several hundred replies back which is reasonably good engagement and that he would favour not distinguishing between the responses of children and adults because they want to give the pupil voice in the same school the same right.
Councillor Christina Leyshon said she’s proud that the pupils have chosen the names.
By BBC LDRS
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