Council has its own agenda not what the public want Pontypridd schools shake-up backed despite protests


A £37m shake-up of schools in the south Wales valleys has been backed by council bosses despite opposition.

The latest changes in Rhondda Cynon Taf will see six schools and three sixth forms close in the Pontypridd area.

Two new schools for pupils aged three to 16 will be built, a new Welsh medium primary and two sixth form centres.

Council leaders said it would improve the quality of education but protesting parents claimed pupils faced longer journeys to school.

Joy Rosser, the cabinet member for education, said: "We want to provide quality learning experiences for pupils with access to 21st Century resources.

"We can't remain static in an evolving world, change is inevitable."

Robert Bevan, cabinet member for enterprise development, added that similar earlier changes in the Rhondda valley were proving to be a success despite similar initial objections.

Schools closing

  • Pontypridd High School
  • Cilfynydd Primary School
  • Hawthorn Primary School
  • Hawthorn High School
  • Heol-y-Celyn Primary School
  • Pont Sion Norton Welsh-medium primary school
  • Hawthorn High School sixth form
  • Pontypridd High School sixth form
  • Cardinal Newman RC Comprehensive sixth form

New schools

  • Pontypridd for three to 16-year-olds
  • Hawthorn for three to 16-year-olds
  • Welsh-medium primary on the site of Heol-y-Celyn
  • Sixth form centre at Bryncelynnog Comprehensive, Beddau
  • Sixth form centre at Coleg y Cymoedd, Nantgarw
presentational grey line

However, many parents protesting outside the meeting were concerned about their children having to travel further to school.

Lowri Chinnock-Davies said the closure of Pont Sion Norton Welsh-medium primary school would mean her children "spending more than an hour on the bus" travelling to and from a new school two miles away.

"We think it's important to keep local Welsh language education in the community where children are living," she told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Meanwhile Sally Churchill, a governor at Pontypridd High School, branded the decision to close its sixth form a "stitch-up" which would divert resources away from a disadvantaged area.

Jo Warner, head of sixth form at Hawthorn High School, claimed colleagues were "visibly upset" by a report which they did not think showed a true picture of their work.

The council wants the changes to take effect by the end of August 2022.

The decisions will now be subject to a formal 28-day period for objections, which ends on 10 May.

Above taken from the BBC Wales News website



Cabinet has agreed proposals to invest £37.4m in new school facilities across the Pontypridd area by 2022 – including the creation of two new 3-16 schools, a new state-of-the-art Welsh medium primary school, and a new sixth form Centre of Excellence. 

An Officer report presented to the Cabinet today (Thursday, March 21) provided feedback on an extensive consultation process. At this meeting Cabinet agreed to issue statutory notices to progress proposals, which will would deliver, by 2022: 

  • A new ‘all-through’ 3-16 school in Pontypridd, investing £4.7m in new facilities at the current Pontypridd High School site.
  • A new ‘all-through’ 3-16 school in Hawthorn, investing £12m in new facilities at the current Hawthorn High and Hawthorn Primary sites.
  • A new £10.7m school to improve and increase Welsh medium primary provision.
  • Post-16 Centres of Excellence at Bryncelynnog Comprehensive in Beddau and Coleg y Cymoedd in Nantgarw – investing £10m in the new sixth form provision at Bryncelynnog. 

Cabinet agreed that it would not take forward proposed changes to the catchment of Bryncelynnog Comprehensive, which were originally proposed.

Commenting directly following the meeting of Cabinet, County Borough Councillor Joy Rosser, Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning said: “This proposal will deliver a £34m investment in modern 21st Century educational facilities for the greater Pontypridd area. The current education arrangements have not changed for a generation, and these proposals seek to deliver the best possible educational opportunities for young people.

“These proposals seek to resolve a number of significant challenges which exist within the current post-16 setup – including very small classes, under-sized sixth forms which financially impact on education at Key Stage 3 and 4, and limited subject choices for students. These proposals will deliver a choice for young people, providing the opportunity for post-16 students to progress through new sixth-form centres of excellence, accessing a wide range of educational opportunities which the current arrangement can simply not provide.

"Cabinet also agreed to deliver a £10.7m investment to increase Welsh Medium primary provision in Pontypridd, building in a brand new school for the area currently served by YGG Pont Sion Norton and Heol Y Celyn Primary School, increasing the number of Welsh medium places available in the area. 

“As a Council, we want to ensure that our young people have access to the very best learning opportunities within modern state-of-the-art facilities. We have demonstrated what we can achieve and deliver for young people across Rhondda Cynon Taf through our 21st Century Schools Investment Programme, and the proposals to create new 3-16 schools at Pontypridd High and Hawthorn School seek to deliver the same modern facilities for Pontypridd.” 

Posted on Thursday 21st March 2019
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