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QEd programme and 21st century schools programme update

QEd Programme and 21st Century Schools and Colleges programme update.

Swansea Council's Quality in Education (QEd)/21st Century Schools programme focuses on an investment need which reflects the challenges remaining across our schools.

Band A which is now coming to a close will have invested £51.5m in new and remodelled and refurbished schools with 50% funded by Swansea Council and 50% by Welsh Government.

The Band B programme remains consistent with local policies, priorities and commitments, as well as the priorities and specific criteria set down by the Welsh Government as follows:

  • To provide an efficient and effective educational infrastructure that will meet current and future demand for places by 2024.
  • Ensuring the right size schools in the right location, with enough places to deliver Welsh and English medium education, whilst ensuring effective and efficient use of the educational estate.
  • Reducing backlog maintenance costs by at least 50% whilst improving any category C or D condition buildings to A or B.

Welsh Government funding for Band B of the 21st Century Schools and Colleges programme is being provided through £600m capital and £500m revenue funding for the whole of Wales.

It was announced by Welsh Government on the 21 November 2018, that for Band B the grant rate for capital projects will be increased to 65%. The intervention rate for special schools and pupil referral units was increased to 75%, and funding for the voluntary aided sector remains at 85%. The intervention rate for revenue funded projects remains at 81%. However, the programme envelope remains the same which for Swansea is £149.5m.

The Welsh Government have approved in principle the overall Band B funding envelope subject to the specific approval of each individual project business case. As such, there is no specific approved budget for any individual project until individual business cases are approved.

Transitional spending from Band A - new build for Gorseinon Primary school

The delivery of a new build for Gorseinon Primary School was delayed, but is now on site and due for completion in July 2020, and open to pupils in September 2020.

Regular updates are provided: Gorseinon Primary School project

Education other than at school (EOTAS) review and new build Pupil Referral Unit at the Cockett House site

The demolition phase was completed in January 2019, and following the sad demise of Dawnus Construction Ltd, Kier Construction Ltd were then appointed as main contractor in May 2019. The construction is due for completion August 2020, and it is planned to open to pupils September 2020.

Regular updates are provided: Education other than at school (EOTAS) project

Delivering commitments within the Welsh Education Strategic Plan (WESP)

Welsh-medium primary

More detailed information about the Welsh Education Strategic Plan (WESP) can be found in the report to Cabinet on the 21 June 2018 - School Organisation linked to the Welsh Education Strategic Plan and in our approved WESP.

The first stages of the WESP implementation are now well underway and a summary of progress is below:

  • YGG Felindre closed on 31 August 2019, following the statutory consultation process approved by Cabinet in March 2019.
  • New catchment areas will be allocated in September 2021 following the statutory consultation process approved by Cabinet in March 2019.
  • YGG Tan Y Lan - the outline business case for this project was approved by Welsh Government in December 2018 and planning approval obtained in May 2019. The statutory consultation process was approved by Cabinet in March 2019. This project has been tendered and the contract award report is due to be submitted to Cabinet in October 2019, when the full business case will also be submitted to Welsh Government. Part of the additional capacity included in the project ie. half a form entry is due to be funded through an additional 100% Welsh Government funded capital grant for Welsh-medium.

Regular updates are provided: YGG Tan-y-lan project

  • YGG Tirdeunaw - the outline business case for this project was approved by Welsh Government in December 2018 and planning approval obtained in September 2019. The statutory consultation process was approved by Cabinet in March 2019. This project is due to be tendered in autumn 2019 following which, the contract award report will be submitted to Cabinet, and the full business case will also be submitted to Welsh Government. Part of the additional capacity included in the project ie. half a form entry is due to be funded through an additional 100% Welsh Government funded capital grant for Welsh-medium.

Regular updates are provided: YGG Tirdeunaw project

Welsh-medium secondary

The increasing demand for places within primary schools will feed through to secondary schools and add to the pressures already apparent. Further enhancement and remodelling of existing accommodation at both Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe is proposed.

  • YG Gwyr - the outline business case for this project was approved by Welsh Government in April 2019, and planning approval was obtained in May 2019. This project is due to be tendered in autumn 2019 following which, the contract award report will be submitted to Cabinet, and the full business case will also be submitted to Welsh Government. There will be a phased implementation over 2020 and 2021. This does not require a statutory consultation.

Regular updates are provided: YG Gŵyr accommodation improvement project

  • YGG Bryn Tawe - the initial scoping and survey work has commenced. Master planning of the site has also been considered as part of the YGG Tirdeunaw Welsh-medium primary school project.

English-medium secondary

A continuing programme of replacement and remodelling works is required to address condition and suitability needs, at English-medium secondary schools, which is being phased and prioritised to reflect the areas of greatest need and the available capital investment.

There is good progress with the first two priority projects:

  • Bishopston Comprehensive school - extension, remodelling and refurbishment. The outline business case for this project was approved by Welsh Government in February 2019 and Kier have been appointed to undertake the development of the scheme. It is anticipated that we will be submitting the full business case to Welsh Government in spring 2020, with a start on site in late 2020 and open to pupils spring 2022 (tbc). This does not require a statutory consultation.

Regular updates are provided: Bishopston Comprehensive school - Remodelling and refurbishment

  • Gowerton Comprehensive school - the initial scoping and survey work has commenced.

The remaining condition category C secondary schools will be subject to on-going review and will be prioritised with consideration of the condition and suitability assessments, as well as availability of deliverable options and the scale of funding available.

It will not be possible to address all the needs during the lifetime of Band B, and this programme of investment will therefore continue into Band C.

The development of a major strategic Local Development Plan (LDP) site is likely to significantly impact the need for enhanced provision to serve the needs of the Penderry area although greater clarity is required regarding timescales. Access to funding for appropriate feasibility, design and other site preparatory works and site investigations would facilitate the early delivery of enhanced educational provision within Band C.

Special schools

There has been a growing demand for specialist places across Swansea, which has meant some pupils have had to be placed in out of county or independent places. As a result, we need to consider enhanced special school provision within Swansea through a fundamental review of the existing special schools. This will form part of a developing continuum of provision to as far as possible meet the needs of pupils within Swansea (complementing developments in Specialist Teaching Facilities and EOTAS).

As the pressure on special school places is increasing this project has been brought forward with a view to the new special school being open to pupils in September 2023.

Initial scoping and options appraisal have been undertaken with a range of stakeholders and work is now ongoing examining potential site options.

It is planned to submit the strategic outline business case to Welsh Government in the autumn of 2019.

Regular updates are provided: QEd Projects

English-medium primary provision

The later phase of the Band B programme includes addressing condition and suitability issues, split sites, and sustainability of English medium primary schools.

The primary schools that have not benefited from investment through Band A or other funding streams, will be the subject of ongoing review, and will be prioritised in consideration of the condition surveys and suitability assessments, as well as availability of deliverable options and the scale of funding available.

As with English-medium secondary, it will not be possible to address all the needs and opportunities during the lifetime of Band B, and this programme of investment will therefore continue into Band C.

Aided sector needs

There is a need for a new build school for St Joseph's Cathedral Primary school on an alternative site to address serious deficiencies in the current accommodation and facilities. This could possibly be co-located with Bishop Vaughan on the current, or an alternative site, or indeed offer all age provision.

The Welsh Government would contribute 85%, with the remaining 15% representing an assumed contribution from the Diocese for these schemes to be deliverable. Delivery would be dependent on the necessary Diocesan contribution.

Targeted enhancement and replacement of failing and inadequate accommodation at Bishop Vaughan including entrance to address safeguarding issues, technology block, gym, sixth form and sports facilities is also a significant need, although this is likely to have to be considered for Band C due to funding constraints. However, alternative funding options to address urgent issues are being explored.

Discussions are ongoing with the Diocese and with Welsh Government officers.

Wider area transformation

There are likely to be changes in population and demand presented by other LDP strategic sites but this will not emerge until the sites are at least partially developed. The impact and progress of these sites therefore is the subject of ongoing review and dialogue with the Planning Department and developers.

Quality in Education (QEd) - Emerging proposals and investment priorities for the next band of the 21st Century Schools programme


Other projects

There are a number of other smaller programmes and projects that Swansea Council has been successful in securing funding for:

Reducing infant class sizes

Welsh Government have approved 100% funding totalling £1,918,750 for four projects to reduce infant class sizes for Penyrheol Primary school, Hendrefoilan Primary school, Seaview Primary school and Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Bryniago. Planning approval was obtained for Seaview in November 2018 and Hendrefoilan in March 2019. Seaview and Penyrheol are now on site with the other two projects due to commence autumn 2019. All works are due to be completed by March 2020.

Regular updates are provided: QEd Projects

21st Century Schools community hub

This project is for sports and community facilities to benefit the school population and local community including a new indoor pitch, and fitness suite/studio, cafe and flexible spaces, with mixed usage. Welsh Government have approved 21st Century Schools community hub funding of £1,265,100. The other funding sources are; £50k Collaboration fund, up to £500k from Football Foundation (subject to successful grant application), up to £330k Freedom Leisure. Total £2,145,100.

Stakeholder engagement has been undertaken and site surveys are ongoing.

Subject to outstanding funding approvals, it is planned to appoint a contractor with a start on site in spring 2020, and handover of the facilities in late 2020.

Childcare grant

Welsh Government have approved 100% Childcare capital funding for a number of settings with the projects being phased extending to 2021.

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