Welsh language and education is top of the agenda in Eifionydd as the village of Chwilog prepares for further investment at the local school.
The community of Chwilog, near Pwllheli, and the surrounding areas are preparing for an increase in numbers at the school, as more investment in housing for local people gives families the opportunity to thrive in the area.
As the Cambrian News went to print last Tuesday, 24 January, Gwynedd Council Cabinet met to discuss approving a statutory notice needed to increase the school’s capacity by over 25 per cent, giving the school the ability and space to teach up to 95 pupils, building from its current 65 pupil numbers. There has been a steady increase in pupil numbers over the past five years.
A Welsh medium education capital and revenue grant has been allocated to develop an additional classroom at the school plus an extra teacher, which, if agreed by Cabinet and following the statutory notice period, could be developed and ready for the new school year in September.
“It is encouraging to see a village school in the heart of a Welsh community where over 70 per cent of residents speak Welsh thriving,” said Cllr Beca Brown who leads on education at the council.
“Ensuring these youngsters at Ysgol Chwilog are given the best opportunities to thrive and develop within their educational setting is important, and we are delighted to be able to plan ahead for this increase. Our hard working staff at the school will also benefit from additional resources and better working environment.”
Ysgol Chwilog governing body, together with Ysgol Bro Lleu and Llanllechid contacted the education department in summer 2021 to discuss capacity. Gwynedd Council has been successful in bidding for funds to develop all three locations, but Chwilog will follow a statutory notice process due to the scale of its capacity increase.
Cllr Rhys Tudur, Llanystumdwy, which covers Chwilog said: “This is great news for our locality and we see the benefits that new homes bring to the table as young Welsh speaking families settle in the area, thanks to the support of a principled local builder who sold all the properties to local families.
“Pre-planning for extra children to attend our local school is vital and I am pleased Plaid Cymru’s Cyngor Gwynedd cabinet has successfully secured investment for the school to develop its capacity and create an additional classroom. Creating a fit for purpose school for both staff and children is imperative to meet their growing needs. I am also delighted that a Welsh language grant to employ an additional teacher at Ysgol Chwilog has also been agreed ensuring that the current staff and pupils are further supported as the school grows.”
As part of the statutory notice, the public will be given 28 days to comment on any changes, with a report submitted to Cabinet in April.