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Ferndale pupils visit the construction team building their new school

Credit: RCT Council

Good progress has been made in the early stages of building a new school for Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn y Forwyn in Ferndale – and a group of pupils and staff were recently invited to the new site for a closer look.

Contractor Wynne Construction started work on site in June 2023, to deliver the new facilities for the existing Welsh Medium Primary School. It will include a first-class school building with 270-pupil capacity which includes a 30-place Cylch Meithrin, a Multi Use Games Area, a grass sports pitch, external play areas, a staff car park and a drop-off/pick-up car park. It will also include a dedicated site access for people who are traveling to the school by means other than a vehicle – for example, walking or cycling.

Credit: RCT Council

With limited opportunities to improve the existing school site, the new school is being built a short distance away on the former Chubb factory site. The multi-million pound investment is being delivered with a 65% contribution from Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme.

A group of pupils and staff from Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn y Forwyn were invited to the site on Tuesday, November 7. They each signed one of the structural insulated panels being used to construct the school, to celebrate the ongoing progress. Works activity since June has included clearing and levelling the site, laying foundations, constructing the floor slab, and completing internal drainage and service ductwork – while external drainage work has started and is progressing well.

Installation of Structural Insulated Panels has also begun – this is the first of the Council’s new school developments to use this sustainable construction method. The panels have a high level of insulation and can considerably reduce the energy used for heating and cooling, while they also produce less carbon during the manufacturing and installation process. The panels are made to measure off-site so they reduce waste, while their quicker assembly reduces overall construction time.

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Youth Participation and the Welsh Language, said: “It’s fantastic to see the progress being made to build a completely new school site for Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn y Forwyn, which will also have facilities for use by the wider community in Ferndale. Local pupils and staff will benefit from this first-class, engaging facility from 2024 – and a group from the school took an early opportunity to see the development site up close when they visited on Tuesday, having been invited by the Council’s contractor, Wynne Construction.

“We continue to welcome major funding support from Welsh Government to deliver modern education facilities across the County Borough – with a huge investment ongoing. The development in Ferndale is progressing alongside new school buildings in Llantrisant, Church Village and Pontyclun, as well as a £75.6m investment across Greater Pontypridd that will provide new facilities in Hawthorn, Cilfynydd, Beddau and Rhydyfelin. Another new school building has also been confirmed for Glyn-coch, and is currently in development.

“The new school in Ferndale is aiming to achieve Net Zero carbon in operation, contributing to our wider Climate Change goals. It will also include several EV charging points, and pupil cycle spaces to promote Active Travel. The school will increase Welsh Medium primary capacity for the area, which conforms to the outcomes of the Council’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.

“It’s clear to see from the progress photos in Ferndale that the new site has many advantages over the current school. In particular, the modern building and expansive use of outdoor spaces cannot be offered at the existing school – while there’s also more space for parking and pupil drop-off areas. The school will be a fantastic addition to the community for generations to come, and I’m looking forward to visiting the development site myself very soon.”