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Wales Online
Wales Online
Lewis Smith

Welsh medium seedling school in Porthcawl set to go ahead despite local concerns

Bridgend Council looks set to go ahead with plans to create a new Welsh medium seedling school in Porthcawl this month despite a mixed response from public consultations. The proposed seedling school, which would see a ‘starter class’ consisting of 30 full-time equivalent nursery places and 30 reception places, would be built on land at Porthcawl Primary school in the town.

The proposed childcare provision is for 16 full-time and 32 part-time childcare places, together with six places for 0 to 2 provision offering full care from potentially birth to four years. An all-weather pitch could also be provided at Porthcawl Primary School to compensate for the land utilised in the provision.

Under the proposals, the seedling provision would be operated and governed by Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgȇr, and pupils would transition to that school at year 1 to conclude their primary education until a Welsh-medium primary school is established within Porthcawl town.

Read more: 'It'll rip the heart out of our town' - people react to impending closure of Porthcawl's iconic funfair

The consultation exercise over the plans ran from February 28 to April 11, with views sought from governors, staff, parents, carers, and pupils of the directly affected schools, Porthcawl Primary School and Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgêr.

A council meeting on June 20 heard there were mixed reactions to the plans, as 35 out of 69 people who completed the online questionnaire said they did not support the proposal, with 33 responding yes.

While plans will now progress to the next stage, concerns were also expressed from Welsh language group Rhieni dros Addysg Gymraeg who raised questions over the transition and admission arrangements and the timeline for delivering a new permanent Welsh-medium school in Porthcawl.

Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell, cabinet member for education, said: "There is a strong Welsh language community in Porthcawl, and the proposal of a new Welsh-medium seedling school shows our commitment to growing the Welsh language throughout the county borough as a whole.

"I’d also like to thank everyone who contributed throughout this important consultation process and it’s really pleasing that such a wide variety of people shared their views."

Elsewhere in the meeting members heard a report on the authority's School Modernisation Programme, where they granted approval to submit a stage 2 application to the Welsh Education Partnership Company.

This could see a scheme in Bridgend West which includes the provision of a new build, two-form-entry English-medium school on the Marlas Estate, suitable for Afon y Felin and Corneli Primary Schools combined, and provision of a new-build, two form-entry Welsh-medium school on the existing Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgêr/Corneli Primary School site.

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