A SERIES of major school building and refurbishment projects could be under way in Neath Port Talbot including a new-build replacement for the evacuated Godre’rgraig Primary School and a new build special school to replace Ysgol Hendrefelin.
On November 20th, 2023, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet agreed to seek permission – via council education officials – for ambitious new school project submissions to be included in the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning funding programme (formerly known as 21st Century Schools).
The proposed new submissions are:
- A new-build, English medium, £17m replacement for Godre’rgraig Primary School at Gnoll Road, Godre’rgraig, providing 210 full-time and 30 part-time nursery places.
- A £10m extension to Ysgol Maes Y Coed Special School in Bryncoch allowing it to take in 40 extra pupils who will benefit from the specialist facilities already existing there.
- A replacement, single-site school for Ysgol Hendrefelin Special School (£17m) which is a maintained community special school currently on three sites. It provides for pupils aged 3-16 who have moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and long term and complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD).
- Complete refurbishment of the vacated Education, Library and Resource Service (ELRS) building at Reginald Street, Velindre, Port Talbot, (£9m) to create a new central hub offering a range of skills-based learning and vocational opportunities for pupils across Neath Port Talbot. It will expand and enhance current internal provision and promote a wide range of subjects for a more cohesive vocational learning experience for young people.
Under the Sustainable Communities for Learning programme, the Welsh Government provides 75% funding of special school projects and 65% for all others, with the remaining funding provided by the council.
Education officers will now submit a variation request asking for the additional schemes to be included in the council’s capital programme, and for the original Swansea Valley schools scheme to be removed following the determination in March 2023 not to progress the project.
If the request is then approved by Welsh Government, each new scheme will need to be developed in more detail, with a full business case submitted before any funding is agreed.
Cllr Steve Hunt, the Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said: “We now have a plan and a vision to take forward to continue our schools capital programme and to meet the challenge of providing specialist education for pupils with Additional Learning Needs ”
Cllr Nia Jenkins, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Early Years, added: “Giving our officers permission to approach the Welsh Government is the first step in the process of getting these new submissions approved. We have set the ball rolling.”