A report which details responses from a consultation on initial proposals for a new Cathays High School, will be shared with Cardiff Council’s Cabinet when it meets on Thursday 17 June.
Concluding in March 2020, the consultation provided members of the public with an opportunity to share their views and in total 494 responses were received.
Whilst there was substantial support for the redevelopment of the school, there were also a number of concerns raised including; potential changes and increase to traffic, impact on public open access space and use of existing local leisure amenities.
As a result, the report seeks authorisation from the Cabinet to develop further proposals based on the responses received and that a statutory notice is issued to;
- Expand Cathays High School from 1,072 places (5.5 Forms of Entry with 247 sixth form places) to 1,450 places (8 Forms of Entry with 250 sixth form places), from September 2023
- Replace the Cathays High School buildings with new build accommodation on the Maindy Centre site adjacent to Crown Way and North Road
- Expand the current Specialist Resource Base (SRB) for learners with Autism Spectrum Condition from 16 to 50 places in purpose-built accommodation in the new school buildings
Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “The views and opinions obtained through the initial phase of consultation, will play a significant part in the development of proposals for the new school and I am grateful to all those who took part.
“It is encouraging that many people are in support of the scheme and over half of respondents welcome plans for enhanced facilities, to be used by both the school and community use. However, we acknowledge some have concerns that have been addressed in the proposals being brought forward, with the revised boundaries for the school, leisure centre and open access community space subject to further design detail. Consideration of all feedback will be given as future plans are shaped.”
Cathays High School has been identified as a priority school in poor condition and nearing the end of operational life. The redevelopment and expansion of the school would provide opportunities to meet the projected demand for places from within its catchment area and neighbouring communities, as well as meet demand for city-wide additional Specialist Resource Base (SRB) places for learners with Autism Spectrum Condition.
If progressed, the new school would be delivered under Cardiff Council and Welsh Government’s Band B 21stCentury Schools programme as one of its priority schemes.
Cllr Merry added; “All children and young people should be able to access good or excellent learning provision and it is important that the suitability and condition of the existing school building is addressed.
“If progressed, a new Cathays High School would not only provide inspiring, modern and purpose-built facilities for the very best teaching and learning, but also be a community focussed school offering improved sports and community provision, accessible to local people and groups.”
The project could also provide the opportunity to bring forward plans to relocate the Maindy Cycle Track to a new purpose built facility, ensuring that home-grown talent will continue to be supported. The plan is to build a new outdoor track in the heart of Cardiff Bay as part of the next phase development of the International Sports Village.
Pupils from Cathays High School and Albany, Allensbank and Gladstone Primary Schools were engaged with as part of the consultation process, ensuring that the voices and opinions of children and young people are part of the decision process and supports Cardiff’s ambition of becoming a Child Friendly City.
The delivery of Band B 21st Century Schools Programme will be supported by the Mutual Investment Model (MIM), a national scheme that has been developed by Welsh Government to borrow funds via the private sector, to design and build schools and to maintain the fabric of the buildings over a 25 year period.
The Council has agreed to a 10 year Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) with a joint venture of Welsh Government and private sector partner Meridiam Investments II SAS, to deliver future schools, including in principle Cathays High School.