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State-of-the-art building welcomes Church Village primary school

Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School

Pupils and staff at Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School in Church Village have now moved into their community’s newly-built, first-class education facilities – with the brand new building having opened for the first time.

The Council and Welsh Government have jointly invested in the new facility via the Mutual Investment Model – the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme’s revenue funding stream. Phase one construction activity started last year, and has delivered the main school building on time this spring.

The single-storey building includes classrooms for nursery and reception age groups, along with three infant and four junior classrooms. It is arranged around a central ‘heartspace’ and a main hall, along with various supporting areas. It has been built utilising available space on the school’s existing site.

The final fit out of the building, and installation of ICT connections, have progressed in recent weeks. These were completed in time for pupils to move into the new learning environment on Wednesday, April 24.

Additional Welsh Government funding has also been utilised by the Council’s Highways team to deliver Safe Routes in the Community works. Various improvements have been made to local junctions and pedestrian routes, to encourage safe walking and cycling to school. This is accompanied by covered cycle storage that is provided within the new school grounds.

Contractor Morgan Sindall will now move onto phase two of the school project, which will focus on developing the external areas of the wider school site. This will include demolishing the old school building, and constructing two Multi Use Games Areas, a grass sports pitch (5-a-side), and car parking with EV charging. Phase two will be completed in autumn 2024.

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Youth Participation and the Welsh Language, said: “I’m delighted that this major development in Church Village has progressed well in recent months, enabling the staff and pupils at Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School to move into their state-of-the-art building on time this spring. The whole community will benefit from this fantastic building, which will bring new opportunities for young people in their education for generations to come.

“We continue to have a strong relationship with Welsh Government to jointly deliver new education facilities right across the County Borough. The Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School investment is the first school in Wales to be delivered via the Mutual Investment Model, and the first of three new school buildings to be delivered for Rhondda Cynon Taf via this funding route – with Penygawsi Primary to be delivered by September 2024, followed by Pontyclun Primary in 2025.

“Elsewhere, the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme is also helping us deliver significant £79.6m facilities across Greater Pontypridd this year. Brand new schools will open in Cilfynydd, Hawthorn and Rhydyfelin for the new academic year in September 2024, with new sixth form and education facilities at Bryncelynnog Comprehensive in Beddau already delivered.

“The new facilities at Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School look fantastic, and I can’t wait to visit pupils and staff soon to see how they are settling in. The second phase of work will now start, to demolish the old school and provide outdoor sports pitches, parking facilities and various other amenities. The Council will work closely with its contractor to continue to ensure that there is minimal disruption while these works are progressed over the months ahead.”

Cabinet Secretary for Education, Lynne Neagle, added: “It is great that Welsh Government has been able to fund these fantastic new facilities. This is the first school to be funded through our Mutual Investment Model and these state-of-the-art classrooms will benefit both pupils and staff and enhance learning. I look forward to seeing the results of the next phase of works to the external areas of the school.”

In addition to the Mutual Investment Model projects and the investment across Greater Pontypridd during 2024, construction has begun on Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn y Forwyn’s new school in Ferndale – to open in early 2025. Sustainable Schools Challenge funding has also been secured for a new school and community hub in Glyn-coch, for delivery in a future financial year.