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Council's Annual Report on Cardiff's Education Investment is published


20/1/2022

Cardiff’s multi-million pound investment in education, including new schools and improvements to existing school buildings, has been outlined in a new report.

The Annual Report on Investment in the Education Estate has provided an update on the progress of investment across the city and next steps of future investment.

Since 2012 Cardiff Council and Welsh Government have worked collaboratively to deliver a major, long-term and strategic, capital investment programme with the aim of creating a generation of excellent zero carbon learning facilities at the heart of the community.

Band A of the Sustainable Communities for Learning Investment Programme (formerly known as 21st Century Schools and Education programme) saw £164million spent in Cardiff and the second phase, Band B, represented a further £298.6m investment for the city funded through a combination of traditional capital investment, along with a revenue funding stream known as the Mutual Investment Model (MIM).

To date, seven new primary schools and two new secondary schools have been delivered with the new Fitzalan High School nearing completion to be ready for pupils in the spring/ summer 2023.

Proposals are progressing for the delivery of new builds for the Fairwater Community Campus (Cantonian High School, Riverbank Special School, and Woodlands High School), Cathays High School, Willows High School, The Court Special School and St Mary the Virgin CiW Primary School, with others to follow.

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “In recent years, the achievements and successful delivery of education investment in Cardiff has been exceptional and our vision to create inspiring, sustainable, carbon neutral and community-focussed schools in which our children and young people can achieve their potential, continues with haste.

“Education continues to be our top priority and in order to build on the high standard of education delivered in Cardiff as recognised by the recent Estyn Inspection, the Council has reiterated its commitment to making every school in Cardiff a good school, where every child can receive a great education.

“This includes continuing to provide significant levels of investment in new and existing school buildings alongside ongoing improvements to educational attainment whilst putting the views of children and young people at the heart of the Council’s policy agenda, supporting Cardiff’s ambition of becoming a UNICEF UK Child Friendly City. In doing so, we place a particular focus on supporting Cardiff’s most vulnerable children, from supporting them and their families in their early years and through school, to the world of work and higher education.

“In line with Cardiff’s wider ambitions such as Stronger, Fairer, Greener strategy, One Planet and Cardiff 2030 Vision for Education, we continue to renew our schools, replacing those that are reaching the end of their operational life and provide morenew school places across all sectors – primary, secondary, additional learning needs, English-medium and Welsh-medium – creating the extra capacity that will be needed for Cardiff’s children and young people.”

 

The report highlights other investment achievements including:

  • Developer contributions have been secured by the Council to deliver the first primary schools on the Local Development Plan sites in north-east and north-west Cardiff.

The new St Mellons CiW Primary School located on the St Edeyrn’s development is due to complete in Spring 2023 and Ysgol Gynradd Groes-wen Primary School will serve the early phase of the Plasd┼Ár development and is due to complete by September 2023. Early planning is underway for school projects at Junction 33 and the Churchlands development.

  • The five-year Asset Renewal plan has seen £13.1m spent in 2020/21, with last year’s spend by far the largest investment in education buildings in recent times £18.6m spent in 2021/22. This plan aims to identify where essential improvements and steps towards carbon reduction can be made across the city’s education estate.
  • The report sets out the need to increase the number of places and distribution of Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Specialist provision across the city including increasing the number of Welsh-medium ALN places available. Significant investment has been earmarked to develop this provision enabling a phased increase in specialist placements for primary and secondary learners with Complex Learning Needs, Autism Spectrum Condition and Emotional Health and Wellbeing Needs over the coming years.
  • In support of Cardiff’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan 2022-2031 (WESP), sustained investment and growth of Welsh-medium provision has been identified to enable parents to feel confident they can secure a placement in the language of their preference and has continued to drive and nurture growth of the Welsh language in each community.

The Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee looked at the report at a public meeting on January 16, 2023.  The committee tested proposals to understand their rationale and evidence base, the Council’s requirements and anticipated outcomes, and the next steps.

Scrutiny’s published papers on the report are available to view here Agenda for Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee on Monday, 16th January, 2023, 5.00 pm : Cardiff Council (moderngov.co.uk)

The report was agreed by Cardiff Council’s Cabinet and informed of the challenges and opportunities facing Cardiff in the development of the education estate at the current time