Posted: Tue 4th Oct 2016

Latest On 21st Century Schools, Including New School For Six Bells……. /
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Oct 4th, 2016

Councillors in Blaenau Gwent have been given an update on projects in the Council’s 21st Century Schools Programme – and with many of the projects now completed the Council is looking forward to progressing with the plans for a new community primary school building in Six Bells. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The funding is in place for the new school on the former Six Bells Colliery site; the Council has applied for outline planning permission and is currently out to tender to appoint a contractor for the build. The school build, which will result in a £6.9million investment into the school estate in Abertillery, will replace the ageing Queen Street and Bryngwyn school buildings and bring the pupils together in modern first class facilities with outside sports areas. The new school will be a campus of the recently established Abertillery Learning Community. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The 21st Century Schools Programme is a flagship programme jointly funded by the Welsh Government and the Council which supports improvements to the school estate. Blaenau Gwent Council’s Executive Committee was told that of the projects in Band A, spanning the period 2014 to 2018, significant progress has been made on a number of key projects, including: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • Tredegar Comprehensive re-modelling project – the extensive re-modelling work to the town’s comprehensive school is now complete
  • Abertillery Primary New Build Project – pupils have settled well into the new school which is part of the Abertillery Learning Community. Demolition has begun on the old school building and the Senior Building Manager for Willmott Dixon is working with the Allotment Society on the development of a legacy project as well as designing key stage 2 pupil play areas
  • Six Bells Primary New Build Project – with the Full Business Case for the new school having been approved by the Welsh Government work continues to secure outline planning permission for the build and appoint a contractor. The Director for Education explained that with the volume of school construction work currently ongoing in Wales, appointing a contractor may take longer than anticipated which could have a slight impact on the date of the school building opening, however, the school will be delivered, in line with the Council’s 21st Century priorities.
  • Regional Welsh Medium 2 New Build Project – this is going ahead in Newport, meaning there will be a freeing up of places at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw for Blaenau Gwent children
  • Ystruth Primary Re-modelling Project –the Business Justification Case for the re-modelling has been approved by Welsh Government in the summer of 2016.
  • Abertillery Learning Community School Reorganisation Project – the Learning Community opened to over 1,500 pupils on September 1st. The Council has set up a Planning and Support group which will work with the Learning Community’s leadership and meet on a half-termly basis

Councillor Keren Bender, the Council’s Executive Member for Education said: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme has been fully embraced here in Blaenau Gwent. We seized the opportunity to use the funding to improve the school estate in Abertillery where we have already built one new primary school and there is another on the way; as well as extensive re-modelling works to schools in Tredegar and Blaina. The new Tillery Street primary building is a first class example of the kind of modern and vibrant learning environment that our children and young people deserve and we look forward now to providing the same facilities for the pupils of Six Bells. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It is possible that we may encounter a slight delay in appointing a contractor due to a high national demand for contractors to build new schools and this could in turn have an impact on the date of the school opening. We appreciate this may be disappointing for pupils and parents but the Council remains 100% committed to delivering a new school for Six Bells. With the opening of the Abertillery Learning Community this month and the Secondary Campus recording its best ever GCSE results, the future is certainly looking bright for the education of children and young people in Abertillery.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Like all local authorities in Wales the Council is now awaiting news from the Welsh Government on Band B of the programme and has begun to identify potential projects for 2019 onwards. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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