The essential journalist news source
Work on new home for Ysgol Hamadryad celebrated with turf cutting

A special ceremony has been held to mark the start of construction of Ysgol Hamadryad, the first ever Welsh-medium school in Butetown, Cardiff. 

[image]The turf was cut at the site of the school's brand new home by Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry, and Baroness Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning. 

They were joined by Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas and Ysgol Hamadryad Headteacher, Mrs Rhian Carbis, accompanied by children for the school and Chair of Governors, Dafydd Tristan Davies. 

Local politicians and staff involved with the project from Cardiff Council and Morgan Sindall, the contractor chosen to build the new school, also took part in the ceremony. 

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: "This is a fantastic moment, not only for the children, staff and parents of Ysgol Hamadryad, but also the whole of the community. Ysgol Hamadryad will serve some of the most diverse areas in Wales, and it is tremendous to see a Welsh-medium school coming to Butetown for the first time. 

"Ysgol Hamadryad is part of the continuing expansion of Welsh-medium provision and widening parental choice in Cardiff. Cardiff 2020 - our vision for education and learning in Cardiff - makes a clear commitment to provide more school places, ensuring that provision is available to all families who choose a Welsh-medium education."

 Ysgol Hamadryad represents an investment in the area of almost £10m. It is being jointly funded by Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government through the £164m 21st Century Schools Programme for the capital city. 

Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: "It is a pleasure to take part in today's turf cutting ceremony for the school which represents the first investment in Welsh medium primary education in the Butetown. It is very heartening to see such demand for Welsh medium education in an area where, traditionally, one may have been more likely to hear Somali or Norwegian spoken than Welsh. 

"We have recently set a target of reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050. If we are to achieve this target, education, particularly for children from families who don't speak Welsh, is key. I am therefore pleased that the Welsh Government has been able to support this almost £10 million investment in the new school with funding of nearly £7 million from the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme and commend Cardiff Council for working to improve access for those parents and pupils who choose Welsh-medium provision." 

The school was established in September 2016, in temporary accommodation next to Ninian Park Primary School in Grangetown. It serves the Butetown, Canton, Grangetown and Riverside areas of Cardiff. 

Speaking at the turf cutting ceremony, Ysgol Hamadryad Headteacher, Mrs Rhian Carbis said: "I am a very fortunate Headteacher, who has the honour and privilege to open the doors of Ysgol Hamadryad. Without a doubt, today is a significant step forward to realising the dream of establishing a permanent and brand new home for Ysgol Hamadryad. 

"The whole school community - Governors, staff, parents and most importantly the children, are proud to be an integral part of this community. Our vision is to establish an excellent, community, multicultural and multilingual school here in Butetown. What a golden opportunity to be able to offer Welsh-medium education to generations of new children" 


Construction is expected to be completed by the end of next year, with Ysgol Hamadryad moving to its brand new, permanent home in early 2019. 

At 2 forms of Entry, the new building will be able to accommodate up to 420 pupils, plus 48 full-time equivalent nursery places. 

Rob Williams, Regional Director at Morgan Sindall, said: "We are pleased to be working very closely with Cardiff Council to deliver this fantastic school. We have a programme of exciting engagement activities that will benefit the pupils and surrounding community during this project." 

The name of the school is deeply rooted in the history of the area. The Hamadryad was a hospital ship that was moored between 1866 and 1905 on the River Taff, close to where the new school is being built. 

Community focus of the school includes a multi-use games area, which will be available to use outside school hours, changing rooms and a community room. 

Ysgol Hamadryad is the seventh scheme to expand and enhance Welsh-medium education provision in Cardiff since 2012. Further Welsh-medium schemes are included in the £284m Band B, 21st Century Schools Programme for Cardiff announced last week.