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A special meeting of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council agreed last night (Wednesday, 31 January) that the new Ysgol Y Graig Primary School will be constructed at the former Vaynor and Penderyn High School, rather than the alternative option of Godre’r Coed Playing Field.
After an extensive public consultation exercise involving pupils, parents, staff, governors, local sporting clubs, local residents and other relevant stakeholder groups, councillors voted 17-14 in favour of Vaynor and Penderyn.
The school is being funded as part of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme, a £1.4 billion investment scheme over a five-year period ending 2018/19.
Local authorities were asked to submit bids for the refurbishment and rebuild of schools, with the Welsh Government providing 50% funding and the remaining 50% provided by the Council.
The new Ysgol Y Graig building will be a ‘one-form entry’ school - replacing the current primary and nursery school buildings - for 193 primary and 30 nursery pupils.
Council Leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill said: “The former Vaynor and Penderyn site is safe and any perceived safeguarding risks are easily mitigated,” he added.
Cllr O’Neil said the consultation results were overwhelmingly in favour of Vaynor and Penderyn - 83% of all respondents and 94% of local residents preferred it.
He read out a letter from the parent of a nine-year-old pupil of Ysgol Y Graig School, which said he loved playing rugby with his friends at Godre’r Coed, which was the only place that was safe in Cefn Coed for them to play. ‘Take the field away from them and you will be taking their childhood away,’ the letter concluded.
“We are here today to debate the location to build a new school,” Cllr O’Neill told the Council. “But it’s not just about a school - it’s about consultation. It’s about listening to communities.”
Further details of when work will start on the new school will be announced at a later date.