Review of Welsh medium education plans in Caerphilly County Borough after Welsh Government cuts spending
Ambitious plans to overhaul Welsh medium education in Caerphilly County Borough are in doubt after the Welsh Government slashed funding.
Leading members of Caerphilly County Borough Council have said the plans will be reviewed following the cuts.
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.
The long term intention was to replicate this in other parts of the county allowing the Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni site to further develop as a ‘centre of excellence’ for pupils aged 14 to 19.
The council also needs funding from the Welsh Government so that Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Caerffili can be relocated to the Phoenix building on the site of St Ilan.
The cuts by the Welsh Government to its 21st Century Schools programme will mean the council will have to contribute 50% of the cost of the new schemes – instead of the original 30%.
In a written statement to AMs, Education Minister Leighton Andrews said: “There has been a sharp reduction in capital funding imposed on the Welsh Government – taken together a reduction of 40% will occur across the current funding period.
“Against that background, the board and the Welsh Government consider that authorities must be given the opportunity to review the timing and content of their planned investments so as to take the hard decisions early that will ensure funding goes to the delivery of excellence in education not the maintenance of buildings.”
The announcement has provoked severe reaction from councillors.
Cabinet member for education Phil Bevan stated: “This decision means we will have to re-draft the whole 21st Century schools plan because the Welsh Labour Government has cut its funding from 70% 50% and it is likely we face having to make very painful decisions.”
Cllr Allan Pritchard, leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council said: “The 21st Century schools policy is in a shambles.
“They have encouraged education authorities to spend a huge amount of time money and resources preparing plans they had no intention of funding. This is a betrayal of parents, teachers and children who have been misled into thinking better facilities were on the way and the Labour Government in Cardiff should be thoroughly ashamed.”