Posted: Thu 22nd Feb 2024

Rolling £24m School Building Programme Proposed for Blaenau Gwent /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 22nd, 2024

A ROLLING school building programme worth up to £24 million could see extensions built at two Blaenau Gwent secondary schools that are full to capacity.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday, February 21, education portfolio holder Cllr Sue Edmunds gave an update on future school building projects.
The Welsh Government has asked local authorities to submit their proposal to the former 21st Century Schools Programme, which is now known as the “Sustainable Communities for Learning” programme.
The difference between the old and new funding programmes is that councils now need to outline a “rolling programme” of proposals for up to nine years.
These will be split into three sections of three years each.
The first three years up to 2027 will be made up of projects expected to reach a “full business case.”
The projects in the second three-year period up to 2030 are those that are being developed and need to through consultation periods.
The last section covers long term “pipeline” projects.
Portfolio holder for regeneration and economic development Cllr John Morgan said: “This is a very positive report.”
He added that having two secondary schools that are over-capacity is “in one way, an extremely pleasing position.”
Cllr Morgan said: “We’re having to look at the capacity of these schools and it shows us that they are schools of choice and pupils want to go to them.”
Cllr Morgan added that he knew that Tredegar Comprehensive where he is a school governor has “30 to 40 pupils” more than expected.
Projects that are expected to be submitted to the Welsh Government this year are: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

£5 million for an extension to Ebbw Fawr 3-16 Learning Community – Secondary phase;
£3 million to £4 million for an extension to Tredegar comprehensive school;
£8 million to £15 million to increase the capacity and sensory area of Pen y Cwm Special School. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Medium term projects are: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Brynmawr Foundation School – possibly a replacement school building;
Cwm Primary School – remodelling and refurbishment;
Another Welsh medium primary school – if there is demand following the opening of the new Welsh medium primary school in Tredegar;
A new faith based school building – possibly replacing three schools;
Discussions with other local authorities for a regional Welsh medium secondary school. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Long term: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The regional Welsh medium secondary school;
A new primary school building in Tredegar. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Funding for school building projects mostly comes from the Welsh Government – but councils are expected to contribute.
The current rate is that proposals for community, voluntary controlled and foundation schools receive 65 per cent of the funding from the Welsh Government.
Special schools and pupil referral units receive 75 per cent and voluntary aided schools of religious character 85 per cent funding from the Welsh Government. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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