Three secondary schools in Caerphilly County Borough could close in education shake-up
Three secondary schools in Caerphilly County Borough could close because of the number of spare places.
The council has said there are currently 2,000 unfilled places in English medium language schools and wants to reduce the number from 13 to ten as surplus places are predicted to hit 4,000 by 2020.
A council report by the director of education, which was discussed and agreed upon by councillors at a meeting on Thursday, states that closing three schools would cost £60m and remove 2,900 spaces.
The schools which face the axe have not been disclosed by the council.
The report said: “In contrast to the secondary Welsh-medium increasing demand, the English-medium secondary pupil numbers are projected to fall from 10,981 (2010) to 9,317 (2020), an overall reduction of 1,664 pupils,” the report says.
“There are 2,271 surplus places presently in English-medium secondary schools, which gradually increase to a projected level of 3,935 by 2020.
“Three English-medium secondary schools have more than 25% surplus places presently. This number increases to 10 by 2020.”
Surplus places would also be removed from the ten remaining schools by demolishing redundant buildings. The council, in the report, also highlighted a 25-year maintenance backlog for 12 of its secondary schools which would cost over £57m.
The fall in demand for English-medium schools is in sharp contrast to the booming demand for Welsh-language education places.
The education shake-up is part of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century schools programme.
As well as closing three schools, Caerphilly County Borough Council wants to increase the number of Welsh-medium places by opening up the former site of St Ilan Comprehensive School, in Caerphilly, town as an extension of Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni.
Its plans also include a new £20m Welsh-medium secondary school which would be built on the former St Ilan school site.
The school would share a single governing body with the existing Welsh-medium school Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni.
It’s £20m cost would be split evenly between the council and the Welsh Government – if the bid proposal for match funding is accepted by politicians in Cardiff Bay.
There are also plans for a new primary school in Rhymney.
On Thursday, councillors agreed to the closing of the schools and the plans will now be submitted to the Welsh Government by November 18.
A council spokesman said the names of the schools will not be released until further discussions had taken place.Follow @CaerphillyObsvr