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RCT agree updated £4.5m investment for YGG Aberdâr

YGG Aberdâr. Credit: RCT Council

Cabinet has agreed an updated £4.5m funding package for the future 21st Century Schools investment at YGG Aberdâr – which will help meet demand for Welsh Medium pupil places and provide an on-site childcare setting.

At their virtual meeting on Tuesday, November 17, Cabinet considered an Officer report outlining the updated total costs and funding package for the scheme. In September 2018, Cabinet approved a 50% Council contribution for an estimated £3.3m investment to provide four additional classrooms – raising the capacity of the school by 60 pupils to meet the local demand for places.

However, Tuesday’s report to Cabinet outlined important changes to the scheme since Members last considered it more than two years ago.

The total cost has now been raised to £4.5m, comprising the initial element (now £3.6m) and a significant addition to the proposed investment – provision of a new purpose-built childcare setting. The Council will receive an £810,000 Welsh Government Childcare Grant for this new element of the scheme.

There has also been a change in the intervention rate for Band B of Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme since the original proposals in 2018, raising Welsh Government’s total contribution from 50% to 65%. The award of 65% funding for the scheme was recently confirmed to the Council in November 2020.

The report to Cabinet on Tuesday therefore presented the up-to-date financial position for Members’ consideration, with the Council’s required contribution now 35% (£1.29m) towards the revised total for the initial element of the investment (£3.6m). Cabinet agreed to the costs and funding package which, subject to Council approval, will allow delivery of significant improvement works at YGG Aberdâr, with an anticipated completion during 2022.

Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Inclusion Services, said: “This important investment in YGG Aberdâr shows our commitment to improving Welsh Medium education provision, and meeting the demand for places within local communities. This project in Cwmdare will be delivered alongside a proposed significant investment of more than £10m for Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun in Penywaun – with both projects designed to improve and increase the Welsh Medium education capacity within the Cynon Valley.

“This scheme was brought back to Cabinet on Tuesday for Officers to present the updated costs, which are revised from the initial estimate in 2018. Cabinet approved this updated position – with the Council set to contribute £1.29m towards the £3.6m for the additional classrooms, and Welsh Government funding the remaining 65%. The total cost of the scheme is now £4.5m, with the Council welcoming an £810,000 grant for the additional childcare setting.

“Our 21st Century Schools investment continues to provide more communities with new facilities and more young people with better opportunities in their education. Staff and pupils at Hirwaun Primary School became the latest to benefit as they moved into a brand new £10.2m building in recent weeks, which follows significant investment across the County Borough since 2018/19 – including Tonypandy, Tonyrefail, Porth, Cwmaman, Treorchy and Ferndale.

“I’m looking forward to seeing further progress with the YGG Aberdâr scheme in the coming weeks and months, with enabling works now able to progress.”