Head teacher knocked out by new school
5:01pm Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
A BARRY primary school threatened by closure proposals earlier this year will be re-built on its existing site as part of a multi-million pound scheme.
Supporters of Oak Field primary, in Gibbonsdown, waged a successful campaign to halt Vale Council proposals and since then the school has come out of special measures and gained a permanent head teacher.
The Vale Council announced this week its cabinet would consider plans to re-organise Oak Field and next-door neighbour Welsh-medium primary Ysgol Gwaun y Nant enabling the latter to increase capacity to 420 – to satisfy demand - and Oak Field retain its 210 pupil limit.
The estimated cost of the preferred option for reorganisation is £3,645,000, met from the existing funding available within the council’s capital programme.
An eight-week long consultation will begin in November 2013, if councillors approve on September 23.
Agreement would mean building work could start on the new school building in November 2014 to be completed by September 2015.
Then new building, remodelling work would be carried out at the existing school building to increase capacity for Ysgol Gwaun y Nant.
Oak Field head teacher, Ian Williams said he would also consider changing the school’s name to reflect the Gibbonsdown community.
“You could have knocked me down with a feather when they told me that we were having a brand new school,” he said. “Words can't express how excited I am. This is incredible news for the children and the community of Gibbonsdown and a huge morale boost for all the staff and governors. I couldn't have wished for a more perfect script for the start of a new chapter in Oak Field’s life.”
“As far as re-branding the school is concerned I will be involving all parties in discussions to take account of all views.
“I have already had meetings with community leaders and I am looking to put together a full package of provision for parents.
“I am sure the new school will help considerably in attracting new children and families to this fantastic school.”
Vale Council cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Chris Elmore said it was a unique opportunity to provide a new school building with excellent educational facilities for children living in a neighbourhood which experiences high levels of deprivation as well as addressing the need to increase the number of Welsh medium places.
Chair of governors of Ysgol Gwaun y Nant, Cllr Nic Hodges said it was a positive move to help satisfy the increasing demand for Welsh medium education in Barry and it also filled the present need for English medium education in this part of the town.
Vale MP Alun Cairns agreed, but added: “The Vale council seem confused. Only a few months ago, they were planning on closing Oak Field.”
Vale AM Jane Hutt said the proposals would ensure a bright future for both schools.