Learning Community Welcomed by Penarth


17 October 2014


Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business, and Cllr Chris Elmore, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, attended the handover of the keys for Penarth Learning Community, which has seen the creation of two new schools within a single building on the site of St. Cyres School, Ashgrove, and Erw’r Y Delyn in Penarth.


As well as providing brand new facilities for the secondary school, it also sees the creation of an SEN school, Ysgol y Deri, accommodating pupils from the three SEN schools in the area.


Penarth Learning Community handoverA first-class learning facility, Penarth Learning Community will also be available for use by the community, with the provision of modern sports facilities including a 3G pitch, as well as hydrotherapy pools, physiotherapy suites, and other specialist areas that can be used by families and carers looking after adults and children with special needs.


There has also been a respite centre included as part of the project for SEN pupils.

Cllr Chris Elmore, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “This development is fantastic news, not only for the pupils, but for the whole of Penarth. This project will provide a first-class environment for pupils to learn in, and will benefit the whole community.”


Minister for Finance and Government Business Jane Hutt said:  “The handing over of the keys is a milestone day for the Penarth Community and I am pleased that the Welsh Government committed over £33m of funding to help develop this exemplar collaborative project.  The Penarth Learning Community is a true example of what can be achieved with a commitment to building excellent schools and community facilities and to obtain the maximum value for money through application of our innovative procurement policy.”


Targeted recruitment and training has been a key driver in the contract and has seen many local people employed during the building phase, delivering 6402 person weeks of employment enabling 184 new entrants to construction, and 83 apprentices and trainees employed on the project.


Learning community key handoverLeadbitter, a Bouygues UK company, was the main contractor on the scheme. Bouygues UK’s Rob Bradley, said: “Penarth Learning Community will provide a range of facilities for the schools, and with the inclusion of the respite centre, much-needed resources for parents, carers and pupils alike.


“We’ve reinvested around 90% of the construction costs back into the local economy, with £22m going to companies with a 25 mile radius of the site. We delivered over 6,000 weeks’ worth of training and employment for local residents and workers and our colleague Mike Little was recognised for his efforts in working with schools and employers in the area too.”


HLM was appointed in 2009 to provide architecture, landscaping and interior design services, in the largest education project the practice has delivered in its 50-year history.


Gareth Woodfin, HLM associate and project architect, said: “We have worked hard to embed the new design into the community and reduce the visual impact of this large building by carefully landscaping the building to follow the contours of the ground.


“We were also conscious with the design of the residential building to create something that was distinctive in character from the other educational facilities, so that pupils really felt like they were ‘going home’ rather than staying at school for the night.


“But more importantly the new school will foster learning and inclusivity, benefitting generations of children to come.”