A scheme to transform Caerphilly’s former St Ilan school into a Welsh-medium school has been delayed for at least a year after funding was cut by the Welsh Government.
Caerphilly County Borough Council wants to turn the school, which closed in 2007 and is situated on Pontygwindy Road, into a Welsh-medium school for pupils aged between 11 to 14.
Instead of going to Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, Year 7 pupils living in the Caerphilly basin would go to the new school. The original plan was to have the new school open by September 2012 but this has been delayed.
In July, the Welsh Government announced cuts to its 21st Century Schools programme meaning the council will have to cover 50% of the cost of the new scheme – instead of the original 30%.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Phil Bevan has criticised the cuts.
He said: “The plans for a new Welsh medium school on the St Ilan site, because of the uncertainty of funding, will be delayed for at least a year while the council works out a new proposal for Welsh medium education. All Year 7 pupils residing within the Caerphilly County Borough Council area, will be accommodated in Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni from September 2012, providing their admission applications are returned by the due date.
“We will be working with Welsh Government officials to achieve an excellent solution for the future of Welsh medium comprehensive education on the St Ilan site.”
The delay will put further pressure on Welsh language school places in Caerphilly County Borough as demand from parents continues to rise.