THE expansion of a Welsh medium school is a step closer after councillors agreed to issue formal notices to increase its capacity and move it “up the road”. 

Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni currently has room for 317 pupils but that will increase to 420 when the primary relocates from its current site in St David’s Road, Abergavenny, to the Deri View Primary school in September 2025. 

The new site will allow the Welsh medium, that has an annual intake 45 pupils, to have a two form entry. 

Deri View now forms part of the King Henry 3-19 School but will become vacant when the purpose built new school, that will house all pupils, opens in April 2025. The £70m building was supposed to open in the upcoming autumn term, but has been delayed.

Monmouthshire Council’s Labour-led cabinet had agreed in January to consult on increasing the capacity of Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni and relocating it to the Deri View site, from April 2025, and has now noted the supportive outcome of the consultation and agreed to publish the necessary legal notices. 

Abergavenny Landsdown councillor Martyn Groucutt, cabinet member for education, said he had been an education officer when the former Gwent Council opened the Welsh medium school in 1994. 

“Back in the day when I was part of the senior leadership team in Gwent we opened Ysgol Y Fenni with 12 pupils on the first day and we are now proposing to open a 420-pupil school,” said Cllr Groucutt, who described the school as an achievement of the people of Abergavenny and the commitment of “all political parties” in Gwent, and now Monmouthshire, to the Welsh language. 

He said the council is committed to “playing a full part in our commitment to one million Welsh speakers by 2050” in line with the Welsh Government’s policy. 

Cllr Groucutt said the relocation is “effectively a move up the road to what I still think of as Llwynu Infants and Juniors” and said it would allow Ysgol Y Fenni, which has to use temporary classrooms for up to 137 pupils, to “expand and breath out” as it is “crammed into its present site”. 

He added the consultation had shown the proposal has the “full support” of school inspectors Estyn and the Gwent Education Achievement Service, which supports the area’s councils in delivering education. 

As well as providing 420 school places there will also be 60 part-time Meithrin nursery places. 

The consultation found parents, who attended a meeting were supportive and of 18 formal responses, 10 – or 56 per cent – were fully supportive, and a further six (33 per cent) were supportive but also raised questions around other aspects of Welsh medium education. 

Those included the potential impact of opening a new Welsh medium primary in Monmouth this September and that pupils have to travel to Torfaen or Newport to continue learning through Welsh at secondary level.  

The council received two responses that were not supportive, which claimed Welsh medium education isn’t a priority for Monmouthshire taxpayers and the plans were “a waste of money”.

But the council claimed the numbers of Welsh medium learners were increasing within the county. 

The council has also allocated £1 million to support the relocation and undertake any required refurbishment works at Deri View. 

Council leader Mary Ann Brocklesby said: “Some of the responses show how excited parents and some of the children are about the move and knowing the area well it has a much better view.” 

Llanfoist and Govilon cabinet member Ben Callard said the school’s popularity isn’t only due to the demand for Welsh medium education “but it is a great school”. 

The statutory notices stating the council’s plans will be published on the June 17 for a period of 28 days giving anyone wishing to comment until July 16 to do so.