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Maes-Y-Coed School celebrate 65-year reunion

In 1959, Maes-Y-Coed School first opened its doors to provide education and support to children and young people with additional learning needs. 65 years on, ex-staff, pupils, and parents of children who attended the school gathered for a reunion.

Maes-Y-Coed was one of few schools at the time which offered specialist education to pupils with additional learning needs. For decades teachers and staff provided vital support to pupils and their families as many have continued to keep in touch over the years.

The school boasted a number of unique facilities such as a sensory pool and partnered with Barry Hostel where several pupils lived full-time and were cared for by dedicated staff who also attended the reunion.

Staff who worked at Maes-Y-Coed

Though the school closed following the development of larger specialist education schools in the Vale, the building – which is located on Gladstone Road – has since transformed into the Vale Flying Start Centre which offers both English and Welsh medium childcare, play and development sessions, and parenting classes.

Barbara Milhuisen (Jenkins), Headteacher, said: “I’ve kept in touch with a lot of people I worked at Maes-Y-Coed with over the years, as well as past pupils and parents. But having so many of us together at the old school premises was something special.

“It really brought back a lot of happy memories of our time at Maes-Y-Coed and to see how the building has changed over the years.

“I’d like to thank Kathryn and her team at Flying Start for accommodating us, and my friends and colleagues for celebrating with me.”

Kathryn Clarke, Flying Start Centre Manager, said: “It was such a pleasure to be able to host the reunion at Flying Start.

“Learning the history of the building and hearing the stories of staff showed what amazing support they offered local residents and the friendships they’ve maintained all these years.

“Now, the building continues to support the community, offering families and young children a range of learning, development and play opportunities.”

The Flying Start Centre first opened in 2012 and provides young families essential support during the early years of child development.

The Flying Start Centre first opened in 2012 and provides families with essential support during the early years of child development. Their facilities include creches, childcare for 2-3 year olds, a clinic room for antenatal and healthcare, access to parenting support and adult learning groups.

More recently, the Flying Start Centre also opened a Community Well-being Garden which offers children the chance to learn about nature and try their hand at gardening. The garden will also be used for Well-being groups for parents and the community.

Cllr Eddie Williams, Vale of Glamorgan Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, said: “It was a privilege to be invited to the Maes-Y-Coed reunion at the Flying Start Centre.

“Listening to memories of the past and catching up with members of the community showed just how impactful the work that the staff at

Maes-Y-Coed carried out was on the families that they worked with.

“The Flying Start Team were also given the opportunity to talk about the work they do for residents in Vale – although the building may have changed drastically over the years, it still remains a key hub of support for children and families in the local community.”