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Ministerial visit to 21st Century Schools in Tonyrefail and Hirwaun

Written by on 8th November 2021

Staff and pupils gave a warm welcome to The Education Minister for Wales when he visited their schools in Tonyrefail and Hirwaun, to see the fantastic 21st Century Schools facilities delivered with Welsh Government support. 

Jeremy Miles MS visited Tonyrefail Community School and Hirwaun Primary School on Thursday, November 4, where staff and pupils are now enjoying excellent new facilities and the opportunities they provide each day. The projects were delivered by the Council using significant investment from Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme.

The 3-19 Tonyrefail Community School opened in September 2018 with a state-of-the-art new building for primary age pupils and a dedicated new Early Years building. That was followed in spring 2019 by the opening of a brand new building for secondary pupils, along with the stunning remodelling of the Listed Victorian former Grammar School building. The wider development included a car park and playing fields following the demolition of the remaining comprehensive school buildings.

The development was delivered as part of a wider £44m Education and Leisure investment for the community, which also included specialist teaching facilities at Tonyrefail Leisure Centre and a new ‘all-weather’ 3G sports pitch.

Hirwaun Primary School benefitted from a brand new £10.2m school to replace its existing buildings in November 2020.The wider development was completed in April 2021, which included the demolition of the former school buildings, two Multi Use Games Areas, an early years Flying Start facility, staff car parking, a grass sports pitch and external spaces.

The Education Minister for Wales visited both schools on Thursday to see the fantastic learning environments created thanks to the investment by both the Council and Welsh Government. He was welcomed by headteachers Heather Nicholas (Tonyrefail Community School) and Bethan Hill (Hirwaun Primary).

The Minister was given a guided tour of each school during his visit, when he took the opportunity to visit staff and pupils in a number of lessons. His visit has marked the official opening of the new facilities at each of the schools.

Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Inclusion Services, who attended Hirwaun Primary with the Minister on Thursday, said: “I’d like to thank the Education Minister for coming to Rhondda Cynon Taf on Thursday, to visit staff and pupils in two of our schools which have benefitted from significant 21st Century Schools facilities in recent years, thanks to Welsh Government’s support.

“The schools in Tonyrefail and Hirwaun are magnificent examples of how this funding has created vibrant and stimulating learning environments which benefit our young people on every single day of their time in school.

“These developments in Tonyrefail and Hirwaun are just two of many completed and ongoing projects to deliver 21st Century Schools facilities in partnership with Welsh Government. Work got underway this summer at Ysgol Rhydywaun in Penywaun and YGG Aberdâr in Cwmdare, to deliver respective £12.1m and £4.5 projects. They will provide new facilities and increased capacity at each school to meet demand for Welsh Medium places.

“The Council is also progressing the joint investment of more than £55m across the Greater Pontypridd area, which will deliver brand new facilities in Cilfynydd, Hawthorn, Rhydyfelin and Beddau by 2024. Initial plans for a further investment of £85m for significant projects in Llanhari, Cymer, Glyn-coch, Penrhys, Llantwit Fardre and Talbot Green, along with a new special school for the County Borough, have also been recently agreed by Cabinet.

“We are also progressing Mutual Investment Model projects via the revenue route of the 21st Century Schools programme, and the Council is currently consulting residents over the plans for new school buildings at Pontyclun Primary, Llanilltud Faerdref Primary and Penygawsi Primary by 2023.

“The Minister was very impressed by the facilities he saw in Tonyrefail and Hirwaun on Thursday, and equally so by the enthusiasm shown during his visit by the pupils – who were a credit to their schools. I’d also like to thank the headteachers and wider school staff for welcoming us, and also for their continued commitment each day under the challenges of the pandemic.”

Jeremy Miles MS added: “It was really good to be in Rhondda Cynon Taf and visit these two great schools in Tonyrefail and Hirwaun.

“Schools belong at the heart of our communities, and it’s excellent to see these schools are not only providing quality learning environments for school-age children, they also offer opportunities to people of all ages, from Flying Start for younger children to sports facilities for adults.

“I’m very pleased the Welsh Government could support these projects through our 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme.”

To see a summary of all of the 21st Century Schools projects in Rhondda Cynon Taf, including current projects and those completed since 2011, please visit the following webpage: www.rctcbc.gov.uk/21stCenturySchools.