The last single-sex council high schools in Wales are set to merge into one school for boys and girls. Caerphilly is the only council area in Wales to still operate single-sex comprehensive schools – one at Lewis Girls School in Ystrad Mynach and the other at Lewis School Pengam.

Caerphilly Council said "a special board of experts" has been looking at options for the future of single-sex education, addressing surplus places, and cutting the number of secondaries in the Upper Rhymney Valley from four to three. Lewis Girls School and Lewis School Pengam share the same catchment areas with many families having children at both schools and at the moment 38% of spaces are surplus at Lewis Girls and 41.84% at Lewis School.

If agreed pupils from both sites would be moved to Lewis School Pengam while the Lewis Girls School site would be kept to manage the transition over a number of years. The proposal will now be looked at by the council and also be subject to formal consultation.

Latest news: Baby suffered horrific injuries at the hands of her parents

Don't miss: Welsh Government minister offered her resignation to Mark Drakeford during Covid pandemic

The council said in a statement: "The board agreed to explore ways in which families can be brought together and reunited and avoid the division that some experience when, due to the current arrangement of schools, children from the same family are split apart at age 11. When considering current and projected demographics and the variable quality of the secondary school buildings the board felt it would seem appropriate to reduce the number of secondary schools in the Upper Rhymney Valley (Lewis Girls, Lewis School Pengam, Idris Davies School, and Heolddu Comprehensive) from four to three and consider the possibility of a new-build in this revised configuration."

Lewis Girls’ Comprehensive School
Lewis Girls’ Comprehensive School

Subject to council agreement and business case approval by the Welsh Government the council said it plans to formally consult on developing a new secondary school on land adjacent to the existing Heolddu School in Bargoed. The proposals would also include upgrading the existing leisure facilities to serve the new-build school and the surrounding community.

“These are an exciting set of proposals which could deliver significant benefits for our pupils and the wider community across the Upper Rhymney Valley,” said Cllr Carol Andrews, cabinet member for education. “We are still in the early stages and all stakeholders will get the chance to have their say as we move through the decision-making process. We will keep everyone updated over the coming months as we take these ambitious proposals forward.”

What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea