Widespread progress has been made on a number of major 21st Century Schools developments in Rhondda, Tonyrefail and Cwmaman, which are on course to be delivered from September.
More than £100m is being invested in schools across the County Borough to deliver improvements in 2018/19, jointly funded through #RCTinvest and the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Education Programme. Among the investment is a flagship £85m programme to transform education in Rhondda and Tonyrefail by providing learning environments fit for the 21st Century in Tonyrefail, Porth, Cymmer, Tonypandy, Ferndale and Treorchy.
A new £7.2m community primary school is also being built in Cwmaman, to provide primary age pupils with state-of-the-art education facilities.
Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said:
“More than £100m is being invested in 21st Century Schools projects in Rhondda, Tonyrefail and Cwmaman. Jointly funded by the Welsh Government, the new facilities will future-proof the delivery of the new curriculum for Wales here in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and improve standards of attainment.
“With the 2018/19 academic year fast approaching, it is an exciting time for our schools and young people, who will soon have access to new learning environments providing them with the very best education opportunities. The Council has provided an update on how each development is progressing, reporting on excellent progress being made on a large number of the projects.
“It is fantastic news that pupils in Cwmaman, Tonypandy, Porth and Treorchy, as well as primary pupils in the new Tonyrefail school, will all be introduced to their new classrooms before the end of the current summer term – ensuring they complete a smooth transition when they return to school in September. This is thanks to excellent progress being made on each site, as the Council works closely with its contractors to progress the various developments.
“The Council’s investment in education won’t stop here – after a further investment package of £160m from 2019 to 2026 was secured through Band B Welsh Government funding. This will ensure more young people will have access to the very latest 21st Century Schools facilities in years to come.”
Here’s the latest progress report from the Council’s ongoing 21st Century Schools projects in Rhondda, Tonyrefail and Cwmaman:
Cwmaman Primary School
The new £7.2m community primary school being built off Glanaman Road in the heart of Cwmaman will welcome pupils from Glynhafod Junior School and Cwmaman Infants’ School, currently on two separate sites. The wider development includes a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA), staff car park, on-site pupil drop-off area, grass sports pitches, external pupil spaces, and a dedicated community room.
Latest Update: The building is a month ahead of programme, and will be completed in June 2018. The school will be furnished and set-up in July and August with curriculum materials. Pupils will be introduced to the new school by the end of term, with the transition completed in September after the summer holiday, when a community open day is also planned.
Cymmer Primary Schools
A £1.9m investment will see improvements to the school’s junior section, including extensive remodelling and refurbishment to deliver improvements to the late Victorian-era and 1960s buildings, while the MUGA will be upgraded. External works include new roof coverings, stone cleaning, repairs, a new entrance with disabled access and a new walkway. Internal works include electrical and mechanical works, a new commercial kitchen, ceiling and floor finishes, and a change of layout.
Latest Update: Refurbishment works will be completed by autumn 2018. Junior pupils have been temporarily located to Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhondda nearby, and the works have resulted in no disruption to their learning.
Ferndale Community School will benefit from nearly £2m investment to improve facilities on the site, which will include new science, Design Technology, ICT and general teaching facilities and toilets. A new 3G sports pitch is being built.
Latest Update: Work is on programme to begin on-site in July 2018, to remodel classrooms and school facilities by September. Works are progressing with the 3G pitch, which will be available to use in autumn 2018.
Porth Community School
Porth County Comprehensive School, Llwyncelyn Infants’, Porth Infants’ and Porth Junior School will become a 3-16 school, at the existing comprehensive site. The primary element will be a new-build, while the secondary building is being refurbished and redecorated. Parking and traffic arrangements on site will be significantly improved to ease congestion.
Latest Update: The primary element will be ready in early July 2018, ahead of the September completion date. It will be furnished and set-up in July and August with curriculum materials. Pupils will be introduced to the building by the end of term, with the transition completed in September. Refurbishment of the existing secondary building is well underway, and work on the 3G pitch begins during Whitsun – to be completed alongside the whole project in September.
Tonyrefail Community School
A £44m investment will provide state-of-the-art education and leisure facilities. Tonyrefail Comprehensive and Tonyrefail Primary will become a 3-19 school, on the current secondary site. New 21st Century primary and secondary buildings are being constructed while the existing Grade-II Listed Victorian building is being sympathetically remodelled. Modern glass walkways will link the Listed building with the new secondary building. Tonyrefail Leisure Centre has received new parking, a 3G sports pitch and on-site classrooms.
Latest Update: The new primary building will be completed during mid-June 2018, on programme. The school will be furnished and set-up in July and August with curriculum materials. Pupils will be introduced to the building by the end of term, with the transition completed in September. An additional exciting project, joint funded by the Welsh Government, is the new Flying Start and pre/after school club facility, being developed as part of the primary element, which will be available in September. The secondary school element of the phased development will now be available in spring 2019.
Treorchy Comprehensive School is being redeveloped with new sixth form facilities delivered alongside a brand new three-storey science block. Existing buildings are also being refurbished to provide 21st Century facilities for all pupils. The school is already benefitting from two new MUGAs delivered as part of this investment, and a third will be completed and handed over to the school next year.
Latest Update: The state-of-the-art science block will be completed by the end of May 2018, and will be available for pupils straight away. The old science block will be completely remodelled and developed into general classrooms, while a new music department will be created which will include recording facilities with specialist equipment, and a number of practice/rehearsal rooms. This will be complete by March 2019. Sixth form pupils are already enjoying refurbished classrooms and seminar rooms while the Council is investing in a new coffee shop and dining facilities over the summer holiday.
Existing classrooms and facilities will be refurbished, and the local Mudiad Meithrin will be transferred from a church building in Porth to the school, giving pupils continuity of support with the Welsh Language.
Latest Update: Classroom upgrades will start on site in July 2018, and will be available for pupils in September. Works to upgrade and prepare the school for the Mudiad Meithrin transfer will begin shortly.
Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail will relocate to the current Tonyrefail Primary School building, which is being refurbished. It will provide additional capacity to support the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 strategy. New on-site parking provision will be introduced.
Latest Update: Remodelling and refurbishment of the former primary school will begin on schedule at the end of July 2018, and is due for completion by the October half term 2018 – after which pupils will start in their new school.
Ysgol Nantgwyn (Tonypandy)
Tonypandy Community College, Penygraig Infants’, Penygraig Junior School, Tonypandy Primary and Ysgol yr Eos will become a 3-16 school on the college site. The primary element will be a new-build, and the existing school will be remodelled. The development includes new science, art, ICT and technology rooms, two MUGAs, a 3G sports pitch and improved site entry and exit points.
Latest Update: The new primary building will be completed in June 2018, on schedule, and will be furnished and set-up in July and August with curriculum materials. Pupils will be introduced to the building by the end of term, with the transition completed in September when a community open day is also planned. A Flying Start facility at the school has been completed ahead of programme, funded in partnership with the Welsh Government. The new 3G pitch and MUGA are already being used by the school and community. The secondary element of the school has been extensively refurbished and remodelled and pupils have used these new facilities since February. Works to refurbish the ‘Neuadd’ to enable it to be used as a dining and study facility for the older pupils, together with complete resurfacing and upgrade of the car park at the existing school, will also be completed by September.
Tai Centre, Penygraig
Pupils will move from their existing school site into the Ysgol Yr Eos Primary building, which will be vacated when existing pupils move to the new 3-16 school at the Tonypandy college site from September.
Latest Update: Pupils will move over to their new school site over the summer holiday, and will enjoy their new school for the start of term in September.