Public to get a say on plan for new Welsh school in Wrexham

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

PEOPLE are to officially get thier say on plans for a new Welsh school in Wrexham.

Councillors voted to press ahead with a formal consultation into providing a 230-place Welsh school at Delamere Avenue in Gwersyllt.

Despite uncertainly about whether Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) funding has been delayed by a year, a council report says “there is a need to push on with the project”.

Officers will now begin asking parents of children interested in Welsh medium education, local playgroups, governors and staff at schools in the local area, councillors, residents and other groups, for their thoughts.

Other members of the public can also express their views by writing to the council.

Cllr Michael Williams, who covers Gwersyllt North, raised concerns about the proposals at a Wrexham Council executive meeting and said: “I wonder whether we have been beguiled by this £4 million funding from WAG.

“If you look at what the likely sum the local authority is going to have to put into the school over 30 years – £30 million – then it pales into insignificance.

“We have to be careful that whatever we build is sustainable.

“I have no problem carrying out the statutory consultation as long as it is brought back and considered very carefully to make sure we’re not making a mistake.

“Mistakes in Wrexham are expensive ones, especially where schools are concerned.”

But Cllr Mark Prichard said: “Evidence shows a massive demand for another Welsh school.

“There would be a public outcry if parents wanted to send their children to a Welsh school and there wasn’t provision.

“It’s all about choice. We should cater for everybody and what the demand is.”

The executive board report said: “Although indications that demand for Welsh medium education existed in the Gwersyllt, Bradley and Llay communities were established through the survey carried out by Opinion Research Services in 2007, real demand has been proven by the uptake of an additional 90 places at Ysgol Plas Coch over the last three years.

“The proposed new Welsh medium school will provide 30 places a year which will satisfy current local demand.”

- COUNCILLORS also gave the go ahead for consultation into the amalgamation of two schools.

It is proposed that Chirk Infants School and Ceiriog Junior School are combined with just one headteacher.

A report to the executive said: “The proposed amalgamation would create a new through Primary School, using the existing buildings.”

It added that savings would be made by just having one headteacher and that one governing body would manage the affairs of the amalgamated school.

See full story in the Leader

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