A new classroom and childcare setting at a Neath Port Talbot Welsh-medium primary school have been officially opened by Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language.
Pupils at Welsh-medium 3-11 primary school Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg (YGG) Cwmllynfell are enjoying extra space and modernised facilities after the successful completion of a £640,000 renewal project.
The work, carried out on behalf of the council by contractors Jones Brothers (Henllan) Ltd, has provided an extra classroom and childcare setting, with the aim of increasing the capacity of the school, improving Foundation Phase provision and providing space to develop pre-school Welsh-medium provision.
The project also aimed at strengthening the development of Welsh language in the NPT and impacting positively on the Council’s Band B proposal at Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur (north campus) by increasing the number of children from the area choosing secondary education through the medium of Welsh.
Before the renewal project, YGG Cwmllynfell was nearing its physical capacity of 92 pupil places with no scope to increase pupil intake without investing in additional accommodation.
Foundation Phase operated from classes that limited pupils’ experience and there was no spare accommodation or flexibility in the existing building’s footprint to deliver childcare provision (the closest offer was a bilingual provision more than five miles away).
The completion of the building work has now not only provided for an additional classroom but a Welsh-medium childcare setting that will increase capacity of the school by 30 pupil places.
Cllr Peter Rees, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, said: “This refurbishment project was made possible after Neath Port Talbot Council was successful in obtaining grant funding totalling £3.4m to improve facilities for Welsh medium education over three years.
“This much needed investment has funded projects at YGG Cwmllynfell and on improvement and refurbishment projects on YGG Tyle’r Ynn (Briton Ferry) and YGG Pontardawe.
“In addition, over the past 4 years there has been significant capital funding for major refurbishment projects in eight existing Welsh-medium schools. The investment, which secures the future of these schools, ranges from boundary wall and toilet/changing facility refurbishment schemes to a new build kitchen block, boiler replacement and re-roofing.
Jeremy Miles MS for Neath said: “It gives me great pleasure to officially open the new classroom and childcare facility, at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwmllynfell. It’s brilliant to see the construction now completed and ready to offer fantastic learning opportunities for all pupils, so that they can reach their full potential, encourage Welsh-medium learners, and support their wellbeing.”
In Neath Port Talbot, both the number and percentage of reception pupils in Welsh-medium schools has increased for the third year in a row with the percentage higher than it has been since 2013.
The total spend to date (Bands A and B) under the Sustainable Communities for Learning programme in modernising Neath Port Talbot’s school estate has now reached £169m – a massive investment in Neath Port Talbot’s next generations and the biggest of any council in Wales outside of Cardiff.
The Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme is a collaboration between the Welsh Government and local councils in Wales. It is a significant, long-term and strategic capital investment programme with the aim of creating a generation of 21st Century Schools across Wales.