DETAILS of the seven school projects across Neath and Port Talbot to benefit from a £93 million education grant from the Welsh Assembly Government have been confirmed.
The projects were named at Wednesday’s council meeting by Director of Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning Karl Napieralla, who called them “transformational”. The funding is part of the £1.4 billion 21st Century Schools capital funding programme announced this week by the Assembly Government.
In Port Talbot, the projects include a new English medium school to serve children aged three to 16 in Baglan at a cost of £40 million, due for completion in 2016; a new English medium school for children aged three to 11 on an existing site at Sandfields, due for completion in 2013 at a cost of £6 million; and a new school building for the faith secondary school in Aberavon at a cost of £18 million, due to be finished in 2016.
In Baglan, the new “all-through” school, for children aged three to 16, will replace Glanafan, Cwrt Sart and Sandfields comprehensive schools as well as Traethmelyn Primary School.
In Sandfields, the new school will replace Glanymor and Tirmorfa primary schools. St Joseph’s Roman Catholic school in Aberavon will be rebuilt under the proposals.
The other projects will see a £12.4 million investment in the Welsh medium school in Ystalyfera, a new Welsh-medium South campus, costing £3.6 million, a new build English medium primary school in Briton Ferry and a new primary school in Coed Darcy costing £6 million.
Mr Napieralla said consultation and planning work was still ongoing.
“These projects are still at an outline stage,” he said. “There are still many assessments to be completed.”
He also confirmed that the £93 million would be 50 per cent match-funded by the council, and added “I am confident we can meet our share of the investment.”
He added that maintenance and investments in other schools in the borough would continue under the Strategic School Improvement Programme, although delays were now likely as assessments and consultation for the new projects would have to take place first.
Council leader Ali Thomas called the grant a great opportunity.
“These are exciting, challenging times and this is fantastic news in educational terms,” he added.
“I am looking forward to seeing young people have access to these 21st century schools and the modern teaching methods that go with them.”
Baglan councillor Peter Richards today welcomed the announcement.
“This is good for education – these buildings will be purpose built to facilitate education for our young people. It’s a positive for us. We’ve got to be looking forward to our children’s education and this is great news,” he said.
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