Wales

Primary school closures in Cardiff given go-ahead

Plans to replace two primary schools in Cardiff with one in revamped premises have been given the go-ahead by the assembly government.

Eglwys Wen and Eglwys Newydd schools in Whitchurch will shut next year.

They will be replaced by an English-medium school in premises currently shared by Eglwys Wen and Ysgol Melin Gruffydd.

Cardiff council says changes are needed to reduce surplus English-medium places and meet Welsh-medium education demand.

Ysgol Melin Gruffydd will transfer into the premises currently occupied by Eglwys Newydd Primary, Tottenham and Wales star Gareth Bale's former school.

The changes, following investment at both sites, will take place from September next year.

The council's proposal was passed to Education Minister Leighton Andrews for formal agreement following objections.

Cardiff council's executive member for education, Councillor Freda Salway, said: "We are very pleased with this decision from the Welsh assembly as this will now allow the council to progress plans to invest considerably in the schools affected by the proposal, developing schools that are fit for purpose and that have capacities appropriate for their catchment populations.

"This news will help us to address the unprecedented rise in the number of parents opting for Welsh-medium education for their children while providing a better match between supply and demand for English-medium places in the area.

"In its current buildings, Ysgol Melin Gruffydd is unable to meet this level of increasing demand while at the same time, there are two English-medium primary schools in Whitchurch with only enough children in that area to warrant one school."

Conservative AM for Cardiff North, Jonathan Morgan, said: "I am appalled that the Labour-led assembly government would want to close successful and popular schools where parents will have less choice in the future.

"This whole proposal is to prop up less popular schools elsewhere in the city which ought to be the focus of attention.

"I am this week discussing with legal experts the possibility of a judicial review based on the inconsistency in decisions issued by the assembly government."

Cardiff council's plans to address surplus places across the city and provide more Welsh-medium education places have run into problems previously.

A proposal to move Ysgol Treganna in Canton to the site of the English-medium Lansdowne School was rejected by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

However, it is hoped plans to build a new Welsh-medium primary school in Canton will resolve the issue.

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