PRIMARY SCHOOL pupils in Welshpool are heading for an exciting future as artist’s impressions depicting how the schools worth £13 million should look like, were shown to The County Times this week.
When pupils return to class after the long summer holiday, they will be taught at interim buildings as they wait for two new schools to be built by 2019.
From September, the three infant schools and junior school will become a Welsh language primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg y Trallwng, and English language education will take place at the Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School.
While waiting for these schools to be built, pupils expected to go to Ysgol Gymraeg y Trallwng – will be taught at the current Ardwyn Infant School site. The new school is expected to take up to 150 pupils.
Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School pupils will be spread over three sites occupying Maesydre, Gungrog Road and Oldford Close. The new school is expected to take up to 360 pupils.
Justine Baldwin, designated headteacher for the Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School, said:
“It’s an exciting and wonderful opportunity and from my point of view it’s a privilege and honour to be in this role at this time.”
In other parts of Wales, moves to provide more Welsh Medium have run into opposition.
However this thorny issue is not expected to impact in Welshpool.
“On the whole it’s been positive, I’ve heard of no negativity to having a Welsh Medium or Church in Wales school,” added Mrs Baldwin.
Children at the new Welsh medium primary school will be immersed in the Welsh language and culture with the only English to be spoken in English lessons.
More provision of Welsh language education is part of the Welsh Government’s vision of increasing the numbers of Welsh speakers to a million by 2050.
The recently published Welsh Language Strategy, says that a key part of making this vision a reality will be through education. With the move towards more Welsh medium education to be “systematic and proactive”.
Laura Jones, deputy headteacher designate at Ysgol Gymraeg Y Trallwng, said: “The new Welsh language school goes with the charter, and reflects Welshpool as a culturally diverse town.
“The aim is to create a Welsh community.
“It’s a great opportunity to build the language here and allow people to live their lives in Welsh.”
But there are still some problems to iron out, such as access to the new Church in Wales Primary School site.
Building there will be carried out alongside lessons with busy roads just a few yards away.
Ian Budd, the newly appointed Powys County Council director of education, said: “It’s going to be a much larger school with more cars dropping off and picking up pupils and we need to ensure that we safeguard pupils.
“That’s why the layout is so important and challenging work.
“For families of children who will go to both Welsh and English medium schools, this is a very exciting time.”
Ian Harrison, chairman of the interim Ardwyn School Governors who will eventually become the governors of Ysgol Gymraeg Y Trallwng, said: “We want to be able to keep people abreast of where we are with these development and for people to be involved in supporting these once in a generation project.”
See full story in the County Times