The demand for Welsh medium education is soaring, according to Caerphilly County Borough Council.
Figures recently produced for Caerphilly County Borough Council, show that 700 additional children of primary school age will need to be educated through the medium of Welsh by 2016 and by around 1,000 pupils at secondary level by 2020.
Welsh medium primary schools will be oversubscribed by 15 pupils by 2016.
More than 200 primary age children travel from Bedwas and Machen area to school in Caerphilly while a similar number at secondary level are transported to Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni at Fleur de Lys, highlighting demand for Welsh medium education in the Caerphilly Basin.
Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni has 49 surplus places currently but that is forecast to change dramatically with the school over-subscribed by September 2013 to the tune of more than 80 pupils, rising to more than 900 excess pupils by 2020.
Councillor Phil Bevan, Plaid Cymru’s cabinet member for education said: “These latest projections highlight the continuing and increasing popularity of Welsh medium education within the county borough and the need to meet that demand from parents for their children to be educated through the medium of Welsh.
“The key pressure point for Welsh medium education at Cwm Rhymni is September 2013. In September next year the school will be over-subscribed to the tune of 21 pupils but the following year that will rise to more than 80 and more than 700 by 2016, numbers which clearly cannot be accommodated as things stand.
“We understand there is growing demand for Welsh medium education across south-east Wales including Cardiff, Newport and Torfaen.”
However the council has said a £3.5m development to turn the former site of St Ilan school in Caerphilly into a Welsh language comprehensive for Years 7 to 9 will still go ahead.