No reprieve for Pontypridd schools and sixth forms. So much for the council taking notice of local residents
Greater Pontypridd 21st Century Schools Reorganisation Programme - Judicial Review Outcome
The Council is pleased that the Court of Appeal has found that the Council’s decision, made in July 2019, in respect of the Greater Pontypridd 21st Century Schools Reorganisation Programme was taken lawfully following a legal (Judicial Review) challenge.
It follows a hearing which took place earlier this month with the Court’s decision being released today, Monday, December 21. In doing so, the Court of Appeal has set aside the original decision of the High Court, which the Council appealed, and which enables the Council to continue to implement its reorganisation programme.
Throughout this process the Council has remained focussed upon the many positive outcomes that this substantial investment and school reorganisation programme would deliver for learners and our communities.
The £38m investment earmarked to facilitate these changes can now be realised and will enable quality learning environments to be created and enhanced educational opportunities and experiences for learners in the Greater Pontypridd area. Transforming education for the children and young people of Rhondda Cynon Taf has been the catalyst for these proposals and will continue to be paramount as the Council strives to provide the very best education for all learners throughout the County Borough.
The Council is now eager to progress with its school reorganisation programme in the New Year. It will continue to engage with school staff, learners, governing bodies and local communities as it moves forward in collaboratively delivering these very exciting 21st Century Schools Projects.
Commenting on the decision of the Court of Appeal, County Borough Councillor Joy Rosser, Cabinet Member for Education & Inclusion Services, said: “The Council welcomes the decision to uphold the appeal brought by the Council, which will now allow us to proceed with our ambitious plan to transform education in the Greater Pontypridd area.
“The Council’s plans, which we have not been able to proceed with until now, will invest over £38m to positively transform the delivery of Welsh and English medium education in Pontypridd.
“The Council sought to appeal the original decision of the High Court to ensure we could make this investment a reality but to also seek clarification on the significant legal implications that the High Court decision would have upon future schools reorganisation proposals in Wales, highlighted by Welsh Government’s intervention in the proceedings. Welsh Government agreed with the Council’s interpretation in respect of the issue on which it intervened. In conjunction with the legal advice it had received this was a key reason why the Council sought to appeal that decision and obtain clarity on those matters.
“It is pleasing that this judgment has highlighted that the decision-making processes of the Council relating to this Judicial Review challenge were found to be in full compliance with the relevant legislation and statutory code of practice.
“In respect of the decision to close Ysgol Heol-y-Celyn and YGG Pont Sion Norton, and building a new £10.7m Welsh medium school on the Heol-Y-Celyn site, the Court of Appeal found that the Council did have regard to ensuring that there were adequate Welsh medium primary education places in the area to meet anticipated demand, that existing pupils will be able to continue their education through the medium of Welsh and that the proposed new Welsh medium primary school will be accessible.
“Building upon the extensive engagement which took place to inform the development of the plans, we will continue to engage with the community, schools and parents as we bring this programme to fruition - and in doing so provide access to 21st Century education facilities for young people in and around Pontypridd.”
During 2019 the Council agreed the following plans for the delivery of education in the greater Pontypridd area:
- The development of post-16 provision at Bryncelynnog Comprehensive in Beddau and Coleg y Cymoedd in Nantgarw – with £10m invested in the Bryncelynnog provision. Learners opting for a Roman Catholic education can access this provision at St David’s College, Cardiff.
- The creation of two new 3-16 schools in Pontypridd and Hawthorn, with an investment totalling £16.7m
- Improving and increasing Welsh Medium primary provision with a new £10.7m school on the Heol-y-Celyn Primary School site.