Chepstow School need to be brought forward – in part to help it compete with Wyedean School in Sedbury – it has been claimed.
The school is due to be replaced as part of Monmouthshire Council’s 21st Century Schools programme but the work is not planned to start until after a new secondary school is built in Abergavenny.
Chepstow is in ‘Band C’ for Welsh Government funding which is not due to become available until 2024, while the Abergavenny project is in Band B.
Opposition Labour councillors on the council argued that both schools should be built at the same time – as the new schools for Caldicot and
But the Conservative administration says that while it is committed to the new schools, the money is not there to be able to do them at the same time.
Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Dimitri Batrouni (St Christopher’s) said that a change in the Welsh Government’s funding for new schools gave an opportunity to look again at building both schools at the same time.
He said: “With the Welsh Government covering more of the cost, surely we can revisit that?
“Chepstow deserves to be in Band B given the competition with Wyedean.
“We need to make it a 21st century school so it can compete and give pupils a top quality education as quickly as possible.”
Cllr Armand Watts (Lab, Thornwell) called on the Cabinet member responsible for schools – Cllr Richard John – to give an assurance that the Chepstow rebuild would go ahead, claiming it had been “kicked into the long grass.”
He said: “I know it has issues competing with Wyedean – I know of the 317 children going over the river, but we need to make a clear statement of intent about the education at Chepstow School, otherwise there will be a reduction in the reputational value of that school.”
Cllr John (Con, Mitchel Troy) said he could give a ‘clear commitment’ to the future of Chepstow School.
“We have been very clear that this is a four-school renewal project and we are half way.
“The evidence was clear that Abergavenny was more urgent – no project has been kicked into the long grass.”
Leader of the council Cllr Peter Fox (Con, Portskewett) said the Labour opposition had not grasped the financial pressure the council was under.
“We couldn’t possibly do the two schools together even if they were ready now,” he said.
“There has not been a point where we have not delivered on what we’ve said and we will deliver this time.”