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Extra financial support needed for Ysgol Bro Caerenion to become Welsh medium school

Now the secondary school campus for Ysgol Bro Caereinion the former Caereinion High School - in Llanfair Caereinion which is set to become a Welsh Medium School (Pic: Google Streetview)

EXTRA funding will be needed to ensure the transition to Welsh medium education at a school in Llanfair Caereinion succeeds – senior councillors have been told.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, March 19 councillors received a report following the consultation into the proposal that all through Ysgol Bro Caerenion becomes a Welsh medium school.

The consultation took place last year between October 19 and December 7, and there were over 800 responses in total.

Following the consultation tweaks have been made to the proposal which will see the move delayed by a year from September 2025 to September 2026.

School’s transformation manager, Marianne Evans said: “This will allow families to understand the changes and how it will impact them.

“It will enable the authority to put the supportive Trochi package (intensive Welsh language teaching) to support pupils.

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“Another concern that came up was around transport arrangements.”

She explained that a “temporary” measure had been put in place.

This will allow current pupils English stream pupils in years four and below at both Ysgol Bro Caereinon and Ysgol Rhiw Bechan (Tregynon) to receive home to school transport to their nearest English medium school.

Ms Evans: “But we hope these families and pupils will choose to stay with Bro Caereinion and move into Welsh medium, however we do recognise this may not be what some families want.

“Once these pupils transfer to secondary provision that offer of transport would stop.”

Llanfair Caereinion county councillor and school governor Cllr Gareth Jones of the Independent group, said that the change of language category is a “very emotive” subject in the town.

Cllr Jones said: “There are many who welcome it but a huge number who strongly oppose this move.”

He added that as a “realist” he supported the proposal as the status quo can’t continue.

Cllr Jones said: “The governors have requested additional funding over and above the (school funding) formula.

“We need a financial commitment because it’s accepted the numbers will drop and with the funding formula the money will be less.”

He believed there needs to be a “written commitment” to give school governors “confidence and faith” that the proposal will succeed.

While welcoming the proposal for free school transport for those pupils in year four and below Cllr Jones believed it was “unacceptable” to take that offer away once the group of pupils has transitioned to secondary school education.

This needs to be “looked at” again in the future, he said.

Cllr Jones said: “Handled poorly this could split a strong community.

“Handled correctly with a 10 year financial commitment for support, this has the potential as something we can all be proud of.”

Cllr Gareth D Jones (Pic: Powys County Council)

Plaid Cymru’s Cllr Bryn Davies who represents parts of the school catchment area added: “I very much welcome this long awaited development.”

Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Elwyn Vaughan who is chairman of the council’s Welsh medium education panel said he hoped to see Bro Caerenion collaborate with Machynlleth’s Ysgol Bro Hyddgen which is well on it’s way to becoming a Welsh medium school.

Education portfolio holder Libera Democrat Cllr Peter Roberts said: “This proposal represents a step change in this council’s commitment to the Welsh language.

“It gives a Welsh medium school to cover one of our traditional heartlands of the language.”

Cabinet voted unanimously to continue the process.