Proposed Welsh-medium secondary school - FAQs
What are the standards in the existing schools?
ESTYN is responsible for inspecting schools in Wales, follow the links below for the most recent inspection reports for each school:
Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd
Ysgol Gymraeg Ifor Hael
Ysgol Gymraeg Y Ffin
Duffryn High School
Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw
Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni
What will happen to Duffryn High school?
Duffryn High school will remain on the current site and will benefit from a new build extension providing facilities currently provided from the lower block.
The lower block will be used to house the Welsh-medium secondary school.
The two schools will have their own entrances and outdoor areas and will be separated by a fence.
Facilities in the Welsh-medium secondary school
- Standard classrooms
- Science laboratories
- ICT suites
- Technology suites
- Dining area
- Gymnasium and changing rooms
- Staff rooms
- Toilets for staff and pupils
View a floor plan of the lower block building (pdf)
Why is a Welsh-medium secondary school needed?
It is important that there is equal opportunity for all children to go to a Welsh-medium secondary school if they want to, because:
- We don’t have one in Newport or in Monmouthshire
- There will not be any room at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw from September 2016 (this is the school that pupils from local Welsh-medium primary schools would have been attending in Year 7)
The school uniform for the new school will be chosen by the new governing body for the school, which will include the new headteacher.
The new governing body will recommend the new school name, for approval by Newport City Council’s chief education officer.
Applications for Home to School transport assistance will be assessed in accordance with the relevant home authority’s Home to School transport policy.
Applications for admission must be made to Newport City Council in accordance with their agreed admissions policy and timetable.
I have an older child attending YG Gwynllyw. I would like to send my younger child to the same school, but the nearest school will be the new school. What arrangements and support will be available for me to send the younger child to YG Gwynllyw?
Currently the council’s Home to School Transport policy states that free transport is provided to secondary aged pupils who live more than three miles from their catchment school or the nearest available school. In accordance with the council’s School Admissions policy, parents can express a preference for the school they want their child to attend. Each school has a designated catchment area however, and if parents choose to send their child to a school that is not the catchment school, they will be responsible for all transport costs and arrangements.
School term dates and inset days
If this proposal goes ahead, some parents will have children in two different secondary schools. Would it be possible for the new school and YG Gwynllyw to work together so that inset days and holidays coincide? This would make things easier for parents.
School term dates are agreed across the South East Wales Consortium region, so they will be the same. Inset days would be a matter for the schools to decide, but the council is sympathetic to parents in this position and would encourage the schools to consider this approach.
Applying from outside of the catchment area
We live in a neighbouring local authority area, but have a child in Welsh-medium primary education in Newport. Can we send our child to the new Welsh-medium secondary school in Newport?
Parents / carers of children living in other authorities who want their children to go to a Newport school should apply via Newport City Council in accordance with the council’s agreed policy and timescales. If the number of applications received is equal to or less than the number of places available, all applications will be successful. However, if the number of applications exceeds the number of places available, the council will apply its’ over-subscription criteria and allocate places accordingly. The over-subscription criteria gives priority to children confirmed as living within the catchment area for the designated school.
Traffic and access
What arrangements will be made to alleviate traffic issues around the schools, with the additional pupils coming to the site?
Traffic issues will be considered within the design process. Traffic plans will be submitted with the planning application and will be reviewed by the highways department, to ensure traffic is manageable.
Would the new school and Duffryn High consider staggered start and finish times to reduce the volume of traffic at Tredegar Park roundabout trying to access the site at any one time?
This would be a decision for the school’s governing body, which will be supported by the council.
Transition from primary to secondary school
Transition between our primary schools and YG Gwynllyw is very good, with the pupils all spending time together before they start school. What arrangements will be in place for the new school?
The four primary schools are all keen to ensure that the good practice in place with YG Gwynllyw is replicated with the new school. Ensuring a smooth transition into the school will be the responsibility of the new head teacher, working together with the primary head teachers.
Safe crossing of Lighthouse Road
Ensuring the safety of children crossing Lighthouse Road is of paramount importance and proposed arrangements for the new Welsh-medium secondary school includes a review by the Highways Department, who in turn will make recommendations.
The current proposal for Lighthouse Road is to remove the existing crossing near the junction to Duffryn Way and relocate the crossing closer to the Duffryn High School site entrance.
Highways feel this will provide a safer and more suitable crossing for pupils accessing both schools, it will also be key in providing a safer access for timetabled curriculum sports on the sports pitches on the opposite side of the road.
Post 16 provision at the new Welsh-medium secondary school
The arrangements for Post 16 education through the medium of Welsh will continue as a regional model.
The new model will build on previous successes and is now extending partnership curriculum arrangements from the South East Wales Consortium into the wider group now incorporating Central South Consortium.
Direct dialogue with pupils and their parents / carers on Post 16 arrangements is on-going through individual schools.
How much will this all cost?
The budget for the project is £17 million. The project is being funded by Newport City Council (£8m); Monmouthshire County Council (£0.5m) and the Welsh Government (£8.5m). This equates to approximately £8,100 per pupil place and will provide remodelling / relocation of education provision with new build extension for Duffryn High, remodelling / additional new build extension for the Welsh-medium High school, and the necessary infrastructure and site remodelling with ground works to allow the two schools to operate independently.
With three (Welsh-medium) primary schools in Newport it makes absolute sense for there to be a High School. However this must be a permanent solution for WM education and not just a stop-gap.
This is not a temporary solution. The proposal is to permanently establish a Welsh-medium secondary school in Newport that will be able to accommodate demand for Welsh-medium secondary education for the foreseeable future.
Why have you chosen this site (Duffryn)? What are the other options?
Other options were developed and considered by officers over four years, with assets and estate across Gwent being reviewed for suitability. The long list of options was detailed in the 21CS Regional Strategic Outline Case and the long list of options were tested and reduced to a shortlist of three options. The three options were further tested to give us our preferred option. The recommendation that Duffryn High School site is the preferred option and the principles of working towards the delivery of this preferred option has been accepted by Welsh Government to date. They approved the Regional Outline Business Case further qualifying this preferred option and have now requested a Regional Full Business Case to that effect.
I would prefer the school to have its own site and grounds
Once established, the school will have its own site and its own grounds. It will not be a case of two schools sharing a single site.
Will the children from the two school mix during the school day?
The two schools will be separate and will operate independently of each other.
Will there be enough space? The school is suited to 1200, but this proposal will add another 900?
This proposal allows the reconfiguration of the layout of the English-medium school at Duffryn which will make better use of the available space. The size of both sites will be in excess of the Building Bulletin (BB98) guidelines for schools. The English medium school will operate for 1200 pupils and the Welsh-medium school will operate for 900 pupils.
I wholeheartedly support the proposal to establish the school. What if the Welsh-medium school needs to expand further?
The proposal is being developed with potential expansion in mind. The school is predicted to have approximately 520 pupils in years 7-11 by 2020, but is designed to accommodate up to 900. It is not anticipated that this school would be expanded beyond this capacity. Regional planning continues to map and forecast demand for future years, with expansion solutions to be developed.
It is disappointing that the school will only open to year 7 in 2016 and other year groups, including sixth form, will have to wait.
To open the school to more year groups would inevitably draw pupils away from existing schools. This could have a detrimental effect on the ability of those schools to deliver the curriculum. It would also be likely to result in excessively small and unsustainable class sizes. Opening the school as a growing school is the best way to ensure the new school is sustainable and that neighbouring schools are not undermined.
The (Lower Block) building is not in good condition. Given the age of the building, it’s full of asbestos and poses a health risk.
We are aware that the building contains asbestos. An asbestos survey conducted in 2014 identified the vast majority of samples taken as being low risk. As part of the design process, a full refurbishment and demolition survey will be undertaken to ensure asbestos present is managed or removed as necessary during the development.
How is the money being spent between the two schools?
The £17m project budget will provide two new buildings, the necessary access and ground works required to enable effective operation of the two schools, and some refurbishment and remodelling. Each school will have a new build addition to accommodate a similar number of pupils. While we do not know the exact cost split, the money is being used to provide similar facilities for each school. The existing Lower Block building already has new toilets, a canteen and a gymnasium for the initial pupil cohorts who would attend the school. The budget will ensure that each school can deliver the full curriculum.
Is there enough demand to justify opening this school?
Newport now has three Welsh-medium primary schools and Monmouthshire has Ysgol Y Ffin in Caldicot. The current secondary education provision in Torfaen is insufficient to cater for forecast demand. This school proposal is expected to meet current and forecast demand. Each council has its own admissions policy which gives priority to children who live in the relevant designated catchment area.
Is there enough time to prepare the site and complete the necessary building works ready for September 2016?
The project is on track for time, scope and cost. The new build for Duffryn High will be complete by September 2016. The new extension to the Welsh school will be complete before September 2018.
Duffryn is in a poor state and was due to be rebuilt after Hartridge and Bettws. This investment is now being split between two schools, both of which will have poor buildings. I think the sharing of the school grounds will weaken Duffryn’s status and results.
Unfortunately, budgetary constraints experienced by the council make the complete rebuilding of Duffryn High school unachievable. This proposal seeks to make the best use of the money available to make improvements to Duffryn and allow the establishment of a new Welsh-medium secondary school which is needed to meet demand.
Will the space be split equally between the schools or will one get more space than the other?
The English-medium secondary school will have 1200 pupils and it will have sufficient space for that pupil population. The Welsh-medium secondary school will have 900 pupils and it will have sufficient space for that pupil population.