12/05/2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

PLANS to redevelop a school in Wrexham have been approved to provide improved facilities for pupils.

Children at Ysgol Yr Hafod in Johnstown are currently taught at two separate sites in the village, depending on whether they fall within the infant or junior age range.

An application was put forward last month in a bid to bring all pupils under the same roof.

The scheme has now been approved by councillors and will result in three new classrooms being created on the junior site on Bangor Road to house infant school pupils.

The existing building will also be refurbished to accommodate a total of 350 pupils overall.

Addressing a meeting of Wrexham Council’s planning committee held on Monday (November 1, 2021), headteacher Alison Heale said the changes would help youngsters to learn.

She said: “We have a successful school with dedicated staff who have created inspirational learning environments which allow our pupils to thrive.

“However, being on a split site means that often parents still regard us as being two schools.

“The process of transition from foundation phase to key stage two can be an anxious time for our children.

“We have a programme of activities to support transition, but the physical distance between the two buildings is a big hurdle for the children to get over.

“This opportunity to extend and refurbish the proposed site on key stage two, as part of the 21st Century Schools Programme will enable us to provide the very best in terms of educational facilities for the children of Johnstown.”

The junior school building was built in 1901 and Ms Heale said the oldest part of it was in need of renovation.

The proposals will also result in the creation of a new staff car park and multi-use games area.

A total of four objections were received ahead of the meeting from people living near the school because of concerns over parking and traffic.

Two letters of support were also submitted to the council, with one person describing the plans as “a great idea”.

Johnstown councillor David A Bithell, who is chair of governors at the school, was among those who spoke in favour of the application.

He said: “We’ve made some significant improvements in the school from an educational point of view.

“Where we fall down is the facilities of the school and bringing the school into the 21st century with classrooms that are fit for purpose is the next stage really.

“There’s been one or two concerns about parking, but we get that at every school in the county borough.

“We’ve done a lot of work with officers, the governing body and the community over the last few months and I’m happy as the local member with the mitigations that we’ve got in place.”

The plans were unanimously approved at the end of the committee’s discussions.

Councillors also supported introducing two temporary teaching blocks at at the infant school site while work is carried out.

Each block will contain four classrooms and be used to temporarily house junior pupils.

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