Pupils welcome Minister for Education as their new school is built

Written by on 12th July 2023

Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School welcomed the Welsh Government Minister for Education and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Cabinet Member on a recent visit – as pupils and staff celebrated the progress towards constructing their new school building. 

Jeremy Miles MS, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, visited the school in Church Village on Thursday, July 6, for a ‘steel signing’ ceremony with staff, pupils, Councillor Rhys Lewis, delivery partner WEPco, construction contractor Morgan Sindall and Facilities Management contractor Robertsons.

The investment is being jointly funded by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Welsh Government via the Mutual Investment Model (MIM), which is the revenue funding stream of the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme.

Councillor Lewis also joined staff and pupils at Penygawsi Primary School in Llantrisant for their ‘steel signing’ ceremony. Both MIM projects got underway in January to build new school buildings by 2024, and have recently hit the milestone of the steel frame being installed. A summary of each project, and a progress update on construction work, is included at the bottom of this update.

Jeremy Miles said:

“This was a great opportunity to celebrate the construction of these new schools. I am delighted they will also look to serve the community around them, making them a truly community focused environment which can benefit all.

“It is important that we give our youngest learners the strongest and most innovative platform to learning so that we can give them the most supportive environment to reach their potential.”

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Youth Participation and the Welsh Language, said:

“I was delighted to visit Llanilltud Faedref Primary and Penygawsi Primary schools on Thursday, and I’d like to thank staff and pupils at both schools for their warm welcome. These are exciting times for both projects, with the buildings’ steel frames now in place, representing a major landmark in their construction.

“We were joined in Church VIllage by the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, and I was proud that he could see the excellent progress being made towards delivering first-class education facilities for the community.

“We continue to welcome the Welsh Government’s support to invest in our schools via the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme. This currently includes three new school buildings in Church Village, Llantrisant and Pontyclun via the MIM; a new building for Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn y Forwyn in Ferndale; and a £75.6m investment across Greater Pontypridd.

“The ‘steel signing’ ceremonies at Llanilltud Faedref Primary and Penygawsi Primary have celebrated the good progress being made to date. With the frame of each building now in place, I’m looking forward to seeing each site continue to be transformed in the weeks and months ahead. These projects will evolve towards completion next year, as we deliver more modern learning environments for our learners, bringing new opportunities in their education.”

Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School progress update

All foundation work is complete, along with the steel frame installation – while drainage work is progressing well. Roofing work has now started, and the roof is on course to be water-tight by the end of the summer – along with the entire building being weather-tight by autumn 2023. The building is currently on course to open for pupils and staff in spring 2024, with all external facilities (such as the Multi Use Games Areas and car park) following by autumn 2024.

The single-storey building will include classrooms for nursery and reception, three infant classrooms and four junior classrooms. A central ‘heartspace’ and main hall will have various supporting areas. Externally, there will be hard and soft play areas, landscaped areas, two MUGAs, a grass sports pitch (5-a-side) and a 40-metre grass sprint track. A total of 23 parking spaces will be provided (four of which will include EV charging) along with cycle storage.

Penygawsi Primary School (by summer 2024)

Treatment work to the below-ground former mine workings is complete, providing a stable platform for the new school. The steel frame installation and foundation work is complete while the drainage works are progressing. The roof is on course to be water-tight by autumn 2023, with the building weather-tight in early 2024. The building is scheduled to open for pupils and staff in September 2024, with all external facilities (such as the MUGA and car park) following in early 2025.

The two-storey building will accommodate two nursery, one reception, three infant and six junior classrooms, along with a central ‘heartspace’ area and main hall with various supporting areas. Hard play areas will be provided externally, along with a grass sports pitch (7-a-side), two MUGAs and informal play areas at the southern end of the site. A total of 28 parking spaces (four of which will include EV charging) and cycle storage will be provided.

Current track