PLANS to move two Newport primary schools into new classrooms have hit fresh setbacks over construction delays at a major housing development.
Pupils at Pillgwenlly Primary and the new Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Gwenlli were supposed to have moved into their permanent homes in January and September 2023, respectively.
But problems with “land transfer arrangements” at the Whiteheads housing development mean those moves are still on hold, and are now not likely to be completed until April 2025.
More than 700 pupils are affected.
Newport City Council said “unanticipated delays in the transfer of this piece of land from Welsh Government to the developer, and subsequently the council, meant that the work did not progress within the timescales originally proposed”.
The council said previous targets for the school moves were “no longer achievable” despite “good progress” on the new Pillgwenlly Primary site, which forms part of the Whiteheads development off Mendalgief Road.
Pillgwenlly pupils were supposed to move into their new school in January 2023 – this was later deferred by 12 months, and this week has been pushed back a second time, to January 2025, after “further delays” to the land transfer arrangements at Whiteheads.
Meanwhile, the city council set up a Welsh-medium “seedling” school named Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Gwenlli in September 2021.
The local authority’s intention was to run the school from a temporary base in Caerleon, and then move into the old Pillgwenlly Primary buildings in September 2023, once they had been vacated.
But delays at the Whiteheads development have had a knock-on effect, and two years later Nant Gwenlli is still stuck in Caerleon.
The latest delays mean pupils there won’t move into their permanent classrooms until April 2025 – a year and a half behind schedule.
The council said there would be “sufficient capacity” at the temporary site to accommodate Nant Gwenlli pupils until then, but the headteacher and governors have reportedly warned they need to “move to the permanent site as soon as possible”.
These setbacks will also have an effect on planned refurbishments of the Pillgwenlly Primary buildings, which may now partly have to be “undertaken after occupation” by Nant Gwenlli’s pupils and teachers.