Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support presented a report, the purpose of which was to:
• detail the outcome of the options appraisal process for the delivery of a Welsh-medium seedling school and childcare provision for the Porthcawl area; and
• seek approval to consult on a proposal to establish a Welsh-medium seedling school and childcare provision for the Porthcawl area on land at the Porthcawl Primary School site.
By way of background, he advised that in March 2018, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance made available £30m across Wales for projects dedicated to supporting and growing the use of the Welsh language in education. This funding would assist the delivery of Welsh Government’s ongoing commitment to achieve a million Welsh speakers by 2050.
A childcare sufficiency audit of settings within Bridgend had identified gaps in this vital provision. These gaps, together with a lack of Welsh-medium childcare, resulted in a decision being taken to centre Bridgend’s proposals on Welsh-medium sessional, child and wraparound care.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support confirmed that Porthcawl was identified as one of the four key locations that would benefit from Welsh-medium childcare provision. It was considered that such facilities at these strategic locations would help support transition from childcare into Welsh-medium primary education. A successful funding bid was made to Welsh Government for such provision in certain areas of the County Borough, that included Porthcawl.
He proceeded by advising that, an options appraisal found that land on the existing Porthcawl Primary School site was the most suitable location to accommodate both a seedling school and childcare facility. To compensate for the land which will be used for the new facility, an all-weather pitch would be provided at Porthcawl Primary School.
The proposed seedling school is a ‘starter class’ with 30 full-time equivalent nursery places, and 30 Reception places, the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support explained.
It was planned that the seedling provision will be operated and governed by Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sg?r, and pupils would transition to that school at Year 1 to conclude their primary education; that is until a Welsh-medium primary school is established in Porthcawl as part of a future band of the school modernisation programme, which Cabinet previously approved in principle.
The proposed childcare facility will have capacity for 16 full-time (32 part-time) childcare places, together with 6 places for 0 to 2 provision offering full care from potentially birth to four years old. This included afterschool and holiday provision, to offer full wrap-around care via the medium of Welsh. It was planned that this facility will be operated by a private provider.
Porthcawl was previously identified as a key location that would benefit from Welsh-medium childcare provision. It was considered that such facilities would help support transition from childcare into Welsh-medium primary school education.
It was currently estimated that if the proposal progresses to completion, the new provision will open in January 2025.
The Cabinet Member – Education stated that it was really pleasing that this extremely exciting proposal was continuing to take steps forward. There is a strong Welsh language presence in Porthcawl, and this new seedling school will continue to reinforce the importance of the Welsh language in the County Borough as a whole.
He added that the proposal will have a positive impact on the amount of young people studying a Welsh-medium education in the area and crucially will also help to strengthen transition links.
The Cabinet Member – Regeneration asked if there would be car parking available at the school, to which the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support responded that a Full Transport Assessment would be undertaken in order to put in place that which was deemed suitable to minimise the impact of the development.
The Cabinet Member – Communities was pleased to see that an all-weather pitch would be provided at the school and hoped that this could be used by the wider community out of school time as well as for pupils there.
In response to a further question, the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support, confirmed that the new school would be targeting net zero carbon, in line with the Council’s Carbon Neutral agenda.
The Leader concluded that there would also be a childcare facility at the school, which was pleasing to note.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet gave permission to consult on a proposal to establish a Welsh-Medium Seedling school and childcare provision for the Porthcawl area on land at the Porthcawl Primary School site.
Publication date: 23/05/2023
Date of decision: 13/12/2022
Decided at meeting: 13/12/2022 - Cabinet