July 4, 2008
Council Makes School U-Turn ; Plan Set for Changes Thanks to Consultation
By Moira Sharkey
A CATHOLIC primary has been thrown a lifeline in its fight to stop a Welsh-medium school being built on its site.
Cardiff's education chiefs are to adapt a pounds 13m reorganisation plan for St John Lloyd Catholic Primary's site, on Bryn Bala Way, Trowbridge, following consultation with parents and teachers.
Plans to spilt the site so that it would also house a new Welsh- medium school could now be scrapped as education chiefs consider a new proposal to place the Welsh school on the Trowbridge Infants' site on Glan Y Mor Road.
It is just one of two adaptations to the primary reorganisation plan which are now up for discussion. The council is also considering housing a new Welsh primary in the buildings used by Caerau Infants' and Caerau Nursery Schools rather than in Cwrt Yr Ala Junior School, as it had initially suggested.
The proposals are part of the city-wide reorganisation, which aims to balance the problem of paying pounds 3m each year to run 8,000 empty school places while Welsh-language schools are overcrowded.
This phase also included the controversial plans to close Lansdowne Primary in Canton and allow nearby Ysgol Treganna to take over the site, splitting Bryn Celyn Primary's site in Pentwyn so that it could also house a Welsh primary, and the amalgamation of Trowbridge Infants' and Trowbridge Junior Schools.
The Save Lansdowne Primary campaign group has written letters to councillors in a last-ditch bid to save the school.
The consultation period ended in March and since then education chiefs have been considering the responses. They say the purpose of the consultation process was "to seek views of all interested parties on the proposal and evaluate these along with any alternative proposals".
The alternative plans were issued to the school communities affected for their views in recent weeks. These responses will be included in a report to the council's executive when it meets on July 14 to discuss whether to give the go-ahead.
Supporters of St John Lloyd had vowed to oppose any changes to the school. The board of governors issued a formal response to the council but nobody was available to comment on the alternative proposal.
Ceri Boulton, mum to Jac and Seren, who hope to attend the new Welsh-medium school in Caerau, said she was pleased that the suggestion she made at a public consultation meeting to rethink the plan was now being considered.
She added: "I think it makes more sense for the English primary to take over the single building as the number of children at the Welsh school may be less initially."
A council spokeswoman said: "In response to views expressed in the consultation process, consideration is to be given to the Cwrt yr Ala site for the location of the English-medium primary school and the Caerau Infants' and Nursery sites for the Welsh-medium school.
"In Trow bridge, the alternative proposal is to establish a one- form-entry Welsh-medium primary school in the premises of the existing Trowbridge Infants' School.
"The alternative proposals need to be given careful consideration as part of the process of evaluating the consultation exercise.""
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