Ysgol Nantgwyn staff and pupils have welcomed Welsh Government’s Minister for Education Kirsty Williams to officially open their new school – which is delivering improved learning opportunities thanks to 21st Century Schools investment.

The Minister visited the 3-16 school in Tonypandy on Monday, July 1, for a special assembly to mark its official opening, with the building having first opened its doors to staff and pupils in September 2018.

In 2018/19, the Council delivered £85m education facilities across Rhondda and Tonyrefail, thanks to joint funding through #RCTinvest and Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Education Programme. New schools opened in Porth, Tonyrefail and Tonypandy for the current academic year.

Ysgol Nantgwyn, which has opened on the former Tonypandy Community College site, has benefitted from a brand new 21st Century primary building – along with remodelled secondary school facilities and external improvements.

Additional investment from Welsh Government’s Flying Start Capital Grant has enabled playgroup Nightingales to relocate to Ysgol Nantgwyn from Ysgol y Eos, so parents can access primary education and flying start provision on the same site. The setting has since expanded to offer fee-paying wraparound childcare for nursery-aged children and after school care for 3-11 year-olds.

Monday’s event saw the Minister greeted by hundreds of pupils at the school, who were waving Ysgol Nantgwyn flags and giving a warm reception. Three pupils then opened the event and invited Headteacher Kirsty Retallick to address the assembly. A special musical item followed, with pupils looking back at their first year at their new school by singing ‘A Million Dreams’. 

This was followed by speeches by Councillor Joy Rosser, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Inclusion Services, the Minister, and the Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Maureen Webber. A plaque to mark the school’s official opening was then unveiled, with a ribbon cut by the Minister.

In her speech, Kirsty Williams said: “Ysgol Nantgwyn is already proving itself to be an outstanding resource to the local community, offering facilities including a 3G sports pitch for community use. This approach is a fantastic example of how we aspire to meet both the needs of the pupils, and also of their families and the community.

“I was delighted to be able to officially launch the second wave of funding for the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme recently. This will see a further £2.3bn invested in schools and colleges; enabling us to provide an education estate of which we are proud, while supporting our young learners to achieve their aspirations.

“I wish all the pupils and staff every success here at Ysgol Nantgwyn School.”

Following the assembly, she was given a tour of the school which included visiting a number of classes – including science and language.

Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Inclusion Services, said: “I was very pleased to visit Ysgol Nantgwyn for Monday’s event, and would like to thank the Minister for officially opening the new school. The new facilities in Tonypandy have proven very popular with staff and pupils – providing a bright, vibrant environment equipped with the very best facilities to deliver the curriculum.

“The Council has benefitted from huge funding to deliver 21st Century Schools projects in a number of communities across the County Borough, which is making a real difference to pupils’ education. This year, £85m facilities were delivered in Rhondda and Tonyrefail, along with a brand new £7.2m primary school for Cwmaman – all benefitting from joint Welsh Government funding.

“These projects are replacing aging and tired school buildings with brand new, state-of-the-art facilities equipped with the latest technology – giving our young people the very best opportunities and experiences in their education.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Ysgol Nantgwyn for such a warm welcome on Monday, with the pupils very engaged and enthusiastic throughout. They are rightly proud of their new school, which is an excellent place in which to learn.”

Posted on Tuesday 2nd July 2019

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