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Minister opens new school facilities to strengthen Swansea Valley Welsh medium education

The Welsh Government Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles pictured opening YGG Pontardawe's new facilities with the Leader and Deputy Leader of NPT Council, Cllr Steve Hunt and Cllr Alun Llewelyn, Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Nia Jenkins, Andrew Thomas (Director of Education and Lifelong Learning), NPT Mayor Cllr Chris Williams and Mayoress Debbie Rees with staff and other guests.

New classrooms and a Welsh Language Immersion Centre were officially opened on Friday, October 13th, 2023 at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe by the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles MS.

The £2.3m project was funded by the Welsh Government as part of its Welsh Medium Grant programme.

YGG Pontardawe, a 3 – 11 Welsh-medium school, is fast approaching its capacity of 335 and 59 nursery places necessitating the expansion and modernisation of its facilities.

The project has enabled the school to increase capacity by 60 pupils and the existing childcare setting by 12 full time places. The work has provided three additional classroom spaces and the refurbishment of its old gymnasium (a former secondary school legacy) to create a modern multi-purpose hall.

External improvements have also been made to early years outdoor learning areas.

The Welsh Language Immersion centre at YGG Pontardawe is part of a Welsh Government programme helping learners entering Welsh medium education at a later stage – typically after the age of seven – and pupils for whom Welsh may not have been part of their daily routine, to gain the skills and confidence needed to continue their learning through Welsh.

This investment will also support learners who may have missed out on vital learning time or lost some of their language capability during the pandemic.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Early Years, Cllr Nia Jenkins said: “This ambitious project will considerably strengthen Welsh medium education in the Swansea Valley area.

“It will be a contributing factor in encouraging parents of pre-school children here to opt for Welsh medium education by providing seamless transition from childcare to full time primary education through to Welsh medium secondary education at Ystalyfera Bro Dur (north campus).

“The new facilities will also help meet the aims of the Welsh Government’s Childcare Offer for Wales by providing greater scope and flexibility in achieving wraparound childcare opportunities, impacting positively on the transfer rate from primary to secondary phase.”