Single objection to Caerphilly school merger
10:16am Friday 2nd May 2014 in News
ONLY one objection was made to Caerphilly council over its plan to close two secondary schools and build a new one on a business park.
The Argus previously reported how the council is proposing to close the Oakdale and Pontllanfraith secondary schools and build a new one for 950 pupils on the Oakdale Plateau 3 site.
On Wednesday, the cabinet heard details of the sole response to its consultation, which was received on March 16, and was jointly signed by a Year 11 pupil and a former pupil at Pontllanfraith School.
They raised concerns about the future of existing leisure services at Pontllanfraith and what new facilities would be available at the new site on the Oakdale Plateau 3 site.
Cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, Cllr Rhianon Passmore, said she “fully endorsed” the plan and thanked council officers “for the considerable amount of effort that’s gone [into it].”
The new school will have a capacity of 900 pupils and provision for about 50 pupils with special needs.
It will cost between £18 million and £18.5 million with about being £9.25 million match funding from the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme.
The council said secondary surplus places are set to increase from 22.5 per cent last September to 34.9 per cent by September 2016 but its plan would reduce surplus places by 20.4 per cent, the council has said.
In September 2013, Pontllanfraith Comprehensive had nearly 52 per cent surplus places and Oakdale about 20 per cent.
The council said they were required to reduce these “very costly” unfilled places by the Welsh Government, which cost them £322,000.
The consultation was first held in January as part of the authority’s Islwyn West rationalisation programme.
Public consultations were held at the schools at the end of January and the council’s cabinet first considered the report in mid-February.