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Newport plans for school expansion because of major housing developments

Tredegar Park Primary School in Newport (Pic: Google)

NEWPORT City Council has unveiled plans to expand a primary school by more than 100 places, in anticipation of an influx of new pupils when several housing developments are completed.

If the plans go ahead, the first extra learners could start at Tredegar Park Primary School, in Duffryn, in September 2024.

Council documents show the school has around one in 10 available pupil spaces free at present, but the demand for places “is expected to increase as a result of new housing developments in the area”.

The council plans to bring in the extra pupils incrementally over the next seven years, with 15 additional places available every 12 months.

When a team from Welsh inspection agency Estyn visited Tredegar Park Primary in October 2022, it found “a caring school with support for pupil well-being at its heart”.

The inspectors praised the headteacher for providing “strong leadership” and staff for placing a “strong emphasis on supporting the well-being of pupils and providing them with the vital skills they need for their futures”.

A report notes the expansion of Tredegar Park Primary, from 420 pupils to 525, is only possible “by utilising part of the Forest Family Centre which is adjacent to the school and has recently been vacated by Duffryn Community Link”, as well as by “making some adaptations to the existing space in the main school building”.

Newport City Council will receive £1 million from the Welsh Government to upgrade the school’s infrastructure.

The school is “currently operating at 89% of total available capacity”, according to the council report.

“However the demand for pupil places at the school is expected to increase as a result of housing developments in the areas around the school including at the Panasonic, Mon Bank and Whiteheads sites,” the report added.

The scale of development in that wider area of Newport “will result in a significant pressure on the availability of school places in The John Frost School cluster”, the council noted, adding that “all available spaces in the September 2023 Reception year across the cluster have now been allocated”.

Tredegar Park Primary was not the only school in the area to be considered for expansion – the council report reveals all primary schools in the cluster were assessed, but “other schools are either not suitable, are too far away or are already being considered for expansion under alternative projects”.

The council’s deputy cabinet member for education is expected to next week approve the taking-forward of the proposal for the expansion, meaning a public consultation on the plans can take place in September.