The former site of St Ilan School in Caerphilly town is to be turned into a new Welsh-language school to meet growing demand.
Caerphilly County Borough Council has said that demand for Welsh secondary school places has risen steadily over recent years. At present there is only one Welsh secondary school – Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni in Fleur de Lys. Predictions estimate that demand will outstrip places by 1,000 by September 2020.
To combat this, St Ilan Comprehensive School, which closed in 2007 and is situated on Pontygwindy Road, will be turned into a Welsh-medium school for pupils aged between 11 to 14.
Instead of going to Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, from September 2012 ,Year 7 pupils living in the Caerphilly basin will go to the new school.
Cllr Phil Bevan, cabinet member for education, said: “It was clear that we needed an urgent solution to accommodate the increasing demand for Welsh places across the county borough.
“Our proposals mean that we can offer our children and young people an education system that is fit for the 21st Century and I’m sure parents will welcome this decision as it will benefit local pupils for many years to come.”
The council’s long-term aim is to replicate this educational set-up in other parts of the county allowing the Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni site to develop as a “centre of excellence” for pupils aged 14 to 19.
This £3.5million scheme is ‘Phase 1’ of a proposed £10million plan to address Welsh medium provision in the wider Caerphilly Basin area. This includes an upgrade of the Phoenix building on the St Ilan site, together with the building of a sports hall and changing facilities.