Cabinet will consider a proposed £2.6m investment to improve teaching capacity across four Primary Schools – with each project set to benefit from significant external investment.
An Officer report to Cabinet on Thursday, September 20, outlines how £1.6m Welsh Government funding could increase teaching space at Gelli Primary (£800,000), Llanharan Primary (£600,000) and Parc Lewis Primary (£200,000). This would deliver a two-classroom extension block and external play area improvements at both Gelli and Llanharan, and internal remodelling and refurbishments, along with external play improvements, at Parc Lewis.
This funding has been secured following a grant submission by the Council, and the Welsh Government will wholly fund these schemes. Council Officers have visited the three schools to start planning for these works which, if agreed, would start in Spring 2019. Cabinet Members will consider whether to include these three schemes in the Council’s capital programme for 2018/19.
The report also asks Cabinet to consider a £995,000 investment in Ffynnon Taf Primary. This scheme would, if agreed, benefit from significant Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding which is earmarked for the community.
The CIL funding would help create additional capacity at the Victorian style school, where a double mobile classroom was added three years ago due to the growing number of children from within the catchment area requiring a school place. Further modernisation works are also required at Ffynnon Taf, which will be in addition to considerable capital funding that has been invested in the school in recent years.
The proposal is to allocate £395,000 CIL funding towards the near-£1m scheme at the school, to replace the temporary classrooms with a permanent new-build extension. The additional £600,000 funding would be allocated through #RCTinvest.
If agreed, works would start in Spring 2019 for completion in the autumn term in the 2019/20 academic year. Cabinet Members will discuss whether to include the £995,000 project in the Council’s capital programme, and whether to approve the release of £395,000 CIL funding to contribute to the scheme.
Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “Cabinet will discuss proposals to invest £2.6m to increase teaching space across four primary schools. It follows an invitation from Welsh Government to submit a business case to apply for funding to reduce infant class sizes – and one of the criteria for this was for schools which have no spare capacity to allow for additional classes.
“Welsh Government has recently informed the Council that, based on this one element of the criteria, £1.6m has been secured for projects at Llanharan, Gelli and Parc Lewis primary schools. This will wholly fund new extension blocks at two of the schools and significant remodelling at the other – while all three will benefit from external play improvements.
“The proposed works at Ffynnon Taf Primary would deliver almost £1m improvements which are greatly needed to improve the school’s capacity – and to replace temporary mobile classrooms with a permanent solution. There is an option for the Council to allocate significant CIL funding to the project, amounting to more than a third of its total cost.
“This Council continues to invest heavily in its schools as a priority area through #RCTinvest. Each year, the Council delivers a school summer improvement programme across the County Borough, and is also continuing with its huge 21st Century Schools investment with joint Welsh Government funding. This has seen £85m invested in Rhondda and Tonyrefail and a new £7.2m primary school for Cwmaman in September 2018.”
Posted on Thursday 13th September 2018