PLANS to expand a Cwmbran special school have passed the first hurdle after Torfaen council’s cabinet agreed to a consultation on the proposals.

Crownbridge School in Croesyceiliog could provide an additional 50 places to students under the proposals.

The proposal has been put forward because the school is “oversubscribed and the demand for places is expected to increase further”.


The expansion is expected to cost £6.9 million, of which 75 per cent will be funded by the Welsh Government, and 25 per cent by Torfaen County Borough Council.

The consultation is expected to start next month for a period of six weeks.

Speaking in the meeting, the leader of the council, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said: “Every time I’ve visited Crownbridge I’ve been struck by the excellence of the spirit and the passion the school have for educating those young people.

“It’s good to see we can invest in the school to give more young people that education.”

A report said that the school has been oversubscribed for the last few years with some pupils being refused places.

When students can’t be catered for within the county, some are being sent out to a private provider, which can cost the authority £90,000 a year compared to an in-house cost of £32,000.

Crownbridge School was built with a capacity of 80, but the pressures of oversubscription has led to the repurposing of some specialist areas and meeting rooms to allow 95 pupils to be on the roll.

The council report says the extra 50 placements would save £2.9 million a year if all places were taken up.

If approved the extension is expected to be completed by December 2023.