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Burlais Primary School Project - Complete

In April 2015 work started on the £8.2m new building for Burlais primary school. Work was completed in August 2015 with the new school opening its doors to pupils on 1 September 2015.

Burlais Primary School Logo

The scheme was jointly funded through the Welsh Government's 21st Century Schools and the City and County of Swansea Education programme.

This was great news for the school as previously they were located in two old Victorian School buildings in Cwmbwrla and Manselton. The new purpose built school in Cwmbwrla Park has meant that all pupils now have access to a 21st Century school with classrooms and associated spaces for play and informal learning. This is particularly relevant to the Foundation Phase and the need to access appropriate outside learning spaces.

Take a virtual tour around the new school

The new school building also includes a community room which will be available for community use out of school hours. This room will be used by various agencies which need to meet in the school, allowing them to have a space to work in which does not impact on the day to day running of the school.  

As part of the project a new community changing room block was built which is now located at the far end of the car park within easy reach of the pitches, which are within Cwmbwrla Park. Local football clubs have full access to these through the parks letting team along with car parking for matches and league games. 

One of the main things which pupils in the school were most excited about was the access they now have to open green spaces in and around their school playgrounds. This has been further enhanced by having use of the park during the day for supervised play. Also, sports days will be so much easier for the school now that they are located next to the park. 

A surprise addition to the school were two stained glass windows which were generously donated by St Luke's church and then restored by David Cook of Toft Stained Glass, all at no cost to the school. This has meant that two very important 'Poppy Windows' which recognised the fallen in both World Wars have been kept within the community. On 11 November last year (2015) a remembrance ceremony was held in the school for the community. Some of those that attended took time to share their stories of the war with the children, telling them what it was like to live during the air raids which swept across Swansea during the Second World War. 

During the design process pupils were asked what they would most like to see in their new school. The general consensus was that they would like a safe environment to play in with access to football fields and a large school playground for them to play on. Many asked if they would have more computers to use and if they could access these outside in the playground. With the addition of wifi throughout the building it is now possible for pupils and teachers to use mobile technology throughout the building. In the summer it is anticipated that teachers will use these devises outside for classes. 

The school Eco Group also took a lot of interest in the building and the layout of the grounds and were keen to see areas for growing and recycling were included. Both of these have been achieved with the inclusion of the old Cwmbwrla weather vane, a fun addition in the orchard area along with a bench which now has within it the schools time capsule. 

Burlais Primary School build

The school celebrated its opening on 20 November with the Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor of the City and County of Swansea Councillor John Newbury in attendance. Dawnus the contractors, which built the school, generously donated a plaque which is in the foyer of the school commemorating the opening. The Mayor and delegates were entertained with a variety of songs performed by the school choir. This was followed by a tour of the new school and then refreshments were laid on in the community room. Everyone that attended commented on how lovely the building was and how well the school had settled in in such a short time.  

Burlais community benefits

The City and County of Swansea has developed a leading community benefits standard that is now included as part of all projects. This is the 'Beyond Bricks & Mortar' initiative which aims to 'put people at the heart of our thinking' 

The aim is to:

  • Work directly towards Swansea Council's objectives for the city's regeneration
  • To achieve social benefits for local people and businesses from the regeneration taking place in the City and County of Swansea. 
  • Positive effect on Swansea's economy

Direct impact on:

  • Young people not in education or training
  • Economically inactive
  • Local supply chain

Targets were set for the project which targeted the following areas:

  • CCS Beyond Bricks and Mortar objectives
  • Community objectives laid out in the Welsh Government Community Benefits Measurement Tool, to include: 
    • Employment of locally based contractor
    • Maximising the investment of the pound in the local economy

The following is a summary of the key targets which were set on the Burlais new school project. 

% of contract spent on suppliers based in Wales80%92%
Welsh local multiplier (as per WCBMT)£1.70£1.93
Targeted Recruitment and Training:
  • Short term unemployed  reduction 
  • Long term unemployed reduction 
  • New apprentices and work placements
Person weeks
Person weeks

The Welsh pound

The project was able to report the following benefits to the wider economy of Wales as well as the community within which it serves. 

  • Contract value = £7.2m
  • Revenue to Welsh based businesses = £6,090,275
  • Income to people living in Wales = £811,780
  • Overall investment in the Welsh & UK economy = £16, 441,401
  • Contribution to SMEs based in Wales = £3,925,317
  • Welsh local multiplier = £1.93

A varied number of apprenticeships, jobs and onsite training were also achieved during the project which included: 

  • Apprentice bricklayers
  • Trainee quantity surveyor
  • Civils engineer 
  • Administrative assistants 
  • Ground worker 
  • Labourers
  • Plant operators

Some examples of the people that were able to benefit from the project were: 

  • Gaynor Griffiths - Gaynor was appointed Dawnus as the site administrator. This role involved signing in and out all visitors to the site as well as carrying out site awareness sessions. 
  • Mark Williams - Mark was employed by Dawnus as a general labourer for the duration of the project build.  

Maximising training for local people

BB&M work with a number of partners in Swansea in order to reach those people most in need of opportunities to gain employment or training.  These include:

  • The long term unemployed (TBG Learning, JCP, Working Links, Shaw Trust, Workways, Remploy, LIFT and Communities First)
  • College starters that need help getting a placement or some work experience 
  • Existing apprentices that have been made redundant and need to find a new employer in order to complete their apprenticeship
  • Construction Youth Trust (Unemployed people wanting to enter construction)

Additional 'added value' community benefits

There have also been other areas where the project team have managed to maximise investment as part of the Burlais project, this includes:

  • Sponsorship of the Welsh Triathlon Cymru
  • Arranged visit from Swansea City Football Club players, along with tournament shield sponsorship for 2 years.
  • Drop kerb disabled access for Cwmbwrla Park 
  • Site visit for construction students from Gower College and University of Wales Trinity ST David

Longer term community benefits will be achieved through the following:

  • A dedicated community room within the new school will be used by local community groups.
  • The community changing rooms have brought greater sports activity to Cwmbwrla Park.

Burlais Primary School timeline 

  • September: school opens 
  • November: opening ceremony for new school 
  • September 2016 - September 2017: defects liability period

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