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Welsh medium education in Swansea: growth of 800 pupils in ten years

Mar 19, 2019

RhAG Swansea is delighted that the Local Authority wants to build two brand new buildings to expand Welsh medium education in the city. 

RhAG Swansea is delighted that the Local Authority wants to build two brand new buildings to expand Welsh medium education in the city. One for Ysgol Tirdeunaw which will be built on the grounds of Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe, with room for 525 pupils, and the other for Ysgol Tan-y-lan, accomodating 420 pupils in the Clase area.

This is a significant development, and it is anticipated that it will increase the number of pupils in Welsh medium education in the authority by about 800 in ten years time. RhAG has been pressing the LA on this for several years, andd ultimately this was a compromise.

RhAG wanted to keep Ysgol Tirdeunaw on its current site, and this was emphasised in the termly meetings held with officers of the LA. Tirdeunaw initially opened with 18 pupils. Some doubted it would ever suceed, but it grew rapidly, with 450 pupils now on roll. This has reintroduced the Welsh language to an area where it had previously been lost - the Treboeth area, and its connections with Gwyrosydd. Unfortunately, the battle was lost to keep the school on its site. There is a danger that the site will now be utilised by English medium education in due course.

It was clear that a new site was needed for Tan-y-lan, as there is currently only room for 115 pupils. The LA's Welsh in education Strategic Plan was not ambitious enough, but thanks to the intervention of Eluned Morgan and the Welsh Government and continued pressure from RhAG, the LA was convinced that there was a need to increase capacity. RhAG was in favour of a Welsh medium school close to the center of Morriston, on land betwen Morriston and Ynysforgan. The LA's view was different.The new school on the Clase, will be further away from the center of Morriston. This is not ideal, but as with all other Welsh medium schools opened in Swansea, it will certainly succeed.

These changes mean that Ysgol Tan-y-lan will take some of the catchment area of the current Tirdeunaw school, and Ysgol Tirdeunaw will move closer to Cwmbwrla and Trefansel, which currently is deprived from easy access to a Welsh medium school.

The LA's proposals for Ysgol Gymraeg Felindre were disappointing. Over the years, RhAG has consistently argued in favour of retaining the school, and in the consultation held at the end of 2018, RhAG argued that the school should be kept open until new houses were built in the area. During this consultation, RhAG contacted all Welsh medium primary schools in the LA, and established the fact that Ysgol Felindre had only 12 pupils on roll. However, only three of the children lived in the Felindre catchment area. Five were living much closer to Ysgol Gymraeg Geillionnen, and the rest from different parts of Swansea. After further consultation, it was concluded that it would not be justifiable to keep a school open for 3 children, and to provide a viable and comrephensive primary education for this small number. The small number probably reflects a change in the demographic and linguistic nature of the village over the years. RhAG proposed that the school be retained for Welsh medium education purposes, including as a nursery education center, a latecomers unit or as a referral center. It is likely that the LA will reject these proposals.