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£150m school investment plans unveiled

Ambitious plans, amounting to almost £150m, to further invest in school buildings in Swansea over the coming years, have been drawn-up


The money will be used to transform the provision for some of Swansea's most vulnerable young people, expand the number of places for pupils being taught through the medium of Welsh to meet growing demand and to further reduce a backlog in school structural maintenance and repairs.

A report going before Swansea Council's cabinet on July 20 seeks permission to submit the plans to improve school infrastructure to the Welsh Government under the next funding band of the 21st Century Schools programme.

This will build on the considerable impact to date of the Band A programme which by March 2019 will have invested £51.3m in school facilities in addition to the Council's annual structural maintenance programme and earlier funding accessed from the WG - a total itself approaching £100m.

The next phase of the programme covers the period from 2019 to 2024.

A new centre at Cockett will replace the existing and outdated accommodation which is used by the Pupil Referral Unit currently scattered at various locations across the city.

It will help more pupils who, at the moment, are educated other than at school (EOTAS) to remain or return as quickly as possible to mainstream education.

A detailed business case will also be developed to seek the necessary capital investment to deliver a review of Special School provision.

As part of the delivery of the Council's Welsh Education Strategic Plan, there are plans to further enhance accommodation and facilities at the existing secondary schools as well as for enhanced facilities for YGG Tan-y-lan, YGG Tirdeunaw and YGG Pontybrenin pupils.

Access to funding for appropriate feasibility, design and other site preparatory works  and investigations could also support future investment to enhance educational provision in the Penderry area, reflecting the scale of potential new housing developments.

A continuing programme of replacement and remodelling works would also improve accommodation and facilities at English-medium secondary schools.  Works would be prioritised and phased to address those secondary schools in the poorest condition.

Capital investment will be similarly sought to further address condition and suitability needs across English-medium primary schools, again prioritised to reflect the scale of funding available. 

St Joseph's Cathedral School could be relocated to an alternative site with new build accommodation and facilities.

Cllr Jennifer Raynor, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Life Long Learning, said: "Many thousands of pupils across Swansea are already benefitting from new modern facilities that are making lessons more enjoyable thanks to our investment to date.

"The Welsh Government has now asked us to outline our plans for the next stage of our programme and we are developing our plans for 2019 to 2024.

"We have always taken the view that our ambition should match that of our pupils and parents in Swansea and this package, which represents an investment of almost £150m, clearly demonstrates our commitment to giving every youngster the best possible start in life."

The council's plans will be submitted to the Welsh Government this month and the council is expecting feedback from ministers later in the year.

Cllr Raynor added: "Once we know the likely outcome of our submission we will start more detailed discussions with those schools that may feature in the programme. There will be much more work to do and each of the investment priorities will be subject to detailed businesses cases."

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