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New £9m school building for YGG Llyn-y-Forwyn formally agreed

An example of 21st Century Schools classroom facilities

Cabinet has formally agreed £9m plans to provide Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn-y-Forwyn in Ferndale with a new school building – utilising a new site to deliver improved facilities and expand the local Welsh Medium primary offer. 

A report to Cabinet on Tuesday, September 21, provided the latest progress update on the proposal. Throughout this year, several important landmarks have been achieved to deliver the new school by 2024 – including a public consultation (March to April) which showed local support for the project, and the publication of a Statutory Notice following Cabinet’s approval in June.

The Statutory Notice allowed for a 28-day period for objections and comments to be submitted by members of the public. Tuesday’s report noted that no comments nor objections were received, and Cabinet agreed with Officer recommendations to implement the proposal with no amendments.

Further updates will be brought to future Cabinet meetings as the project is progressed through Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges approval process. Business cases will be submitted by the Council to bid for Band B funding, which could secure a 65% contribution towards the project.

Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Inclusion Services, said: “I’m delighted that Cabinet has formally approved plans to invest £9m in Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn-y-Forwyn in Ferndale. It follows the publication of the Statutory Notice in June, and the public consultation in March to April which showed overwhelming support from the school and in written responses from the wider community.

“The project has a number of benefits. It will provide the school with state-of-the-art facilities, new outdoor spaces and a dedicated on-site school transport drop off area – none of which are available and are not able to be delivered on the current school site. It is important to note that Estyn has previously commented that the school’s performance is positive, but its limited access to external areas makes outdoor learning a challenge. This will be rectified by building the new school on the new site. 

“The investment will also further contribute to our commitment to improving Welsh Medium opportunities, working towards outcomes outlined in the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. The Council has this summer started work to build new facilities at Ysgol Rhydywaun and YGG Aberdâr, with the £12.1m and £4.5m projects set to increase the capacity of each school.

“The new facilities for Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn-y-Forwyn will also provide additional places and promote the Welsh language in the community. They will be delivered through a new building which is net zero carbon in operation and conforms to our Climate Change commitments, while also providing community facilities which will create opportunities for use by local organisations and groups in Ferndale.

“The Council will bid for Welsh Government investment to deliver the project, which would continue our excellent recent track record of securing 21st Century Schools funding to provide brand new facilities for our young people.”

Cabinet has previously agreed that the new school building for Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn-y-Forwyn will be provided on land north of Highland in Ferndale, known as the former ‘Chubb Factory’. A 2019 condition survey for the school’s two existing Victorian buildings indicated a ‘D’ for condition and ‘C’ for suitability (on a scale where ‘A’ is the highest-performing and ‘D’ is the lowest) – while they have a backlog of maintenance of more than £1m.

The new school will include modern and flexible learning environments, accessible facilities with community use, enhanced outdoor spaces to support all curriculum activities, a staff car park and a drop-off point for buses.

Key stakeholders and the wider community were consulted over an eight-week period from March 1 to April 30, 2021. Face-to-face meetings with the community could not be held due to the pandemic, but virtual meetings with staff, governors and pupils were held via video link. Separately, 72 written responses were received from the community via an online survey on the Council’s website. In total, 70 of these were in agreement with the proposal.

Posted on 23/09/2021