CardiffEducation

Willows High School could be moved to Splott under revised plans

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Willows High School. Credit: Cardiff Council

A report which recommends plans are progressed to relocate and rebuild a replacement Willows High School will go to Cardiff Council’s Cabinet when it meets on Thursday 25, February.

Thereport outlines proposals which could see the new school relocated to Lewis Road, Splott.

Italso requests that a non-statutory public engagement on the relocation of the school will take place in Spring, giving members of the public the opportunity to find out more about the proposals for the scheme.

In December 2017, the Cabinet approved plans to address those schools in poor condition. Willows High School was identified as a category ‘D’ school, meaning it is nearing the end of its operational lifewith ‘unsuitable’ learning environmentsand wasprioritised for investment.

If progressed, the new school would be delivered under Cardiff Council and Welsh Government’sBand B 21stCentury Schools programme andproposals would include:

  • Building a new school on Lewis Road, Splottto serve theAdamsdown, Splott and Tremorfa areas
  • Providing access to high quality local sports facilities
  • A community focussed school with facilities available for use by the whole community outside of core school hours.
  • Enhanced pedestrian facilities to support active travel arrangements on the Lewis Road site
  • Capacity for 900 places for learners aged 11 to 16, in line with the projected demand
  • Pupils to remain at the existing Willows High School site until the new
    school build is complete to minimise the potential for disruption.

In September 2019, initial proposals for early years, primary school, secondary school and post-16 provision to serve Adamsdown and Splottwere consulted on. This includedthe expansion and transfer of secondary provision for 11-16 to 8FE and the establishment of a post 16 provision on the secondary site.

However, most recent projections indicate that a capacity of 6 to 7 forms of entrywould meet the demand for places from within the existing catchment area of Willows High School in the Band B period and that from September 2024 until September 2030, projections suggest that 6 forms of entry would be sufficient to meet the demand.

The consultation also showed key concerns including the loss of part of Tremorfa Park, co-location of the primary and secondary schools on a single site and the need to relocate the school off the floodplain. It also showed a majority of stakeholders opposed the plans relating to the request from the Catholic Archdiocese to close St Alban’s RC Primary School.

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “We have taken into account the feedback from the previous consultation and this has helped shape a revised proposal for the provision of education places in Adamsdown, Tremorfa and Splott.

“If progressed, relocating Willows High School to Lewis Road would facilitate anew learning campusproviding considerably improved educational facilities in a brand new school as well as excellent amenities accessible to the whole community.

“With a focus on transformational change, the development would present the opportunity to build links with local businessescreating challenging, supportive and stimulating opportunities to promote aspiration and achievement.”

Following consultation, the Catholic Archdiocese decided to withdraw plans to close St Alban’s RC Primary School. As a result the proposed enlargement of Baden Powell Primary School would no longer be necessary, and the utilisation of buildings that would have been vacated following the closure of St Alban’s RC Primary School to enlarge Tremorfa Nursery School would not be possible.

Rhys Gregory
Editor of Wales247.co.uk

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