Green light plans for a new Willows High School


Cardiff Council's Planning Committee have given the go-head for a brand-new home for Willows High School to be constructed on land off Lewis Road in Splott.

The scheme represents more than £50m investment and will see the existing school relocated and rebuilt, providing capacity for 900 learners aged 11 to 16 years in addition to a 30 place Special Resource Base for pupils with Additional Learning Needs and offering access to excellent quality education environments to support and enhance teaching and learning.

Delivered under Cardiff Council and Welsh Government'sBand B, Sustainable Communities for Learning programme, the new school will have a community focus and offer comprehensive sports facilities such as a sports hall, gym, drama studio, 3G and grass pitches, which will be available for public use outside of school hours. The scheme will also provide improved pedestrian facilities to support active travel arrangements in the area.

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council, and Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Sarah Merry, said: "The reality of delivering an excellent brand-new, modern home for Willows High School moves one step closer with the approval of planning. This development represents a significant investment in the local area and will provide exceptional facilities, expertise and teaching opportunities for students and staff, as well as offering superb facilities for the whole community to enjoy and benefit from.

"The progression of the new school build, reaffirms our commitment to making sure all of Cardiff's children haveopportunities to learn in high quality school settings andsupports Cardiff's Child Friendly City status which prioritises the rights and needs of children and young people, putting them at the heart of everything we do."

Willows High School Headteacher Chris Norman said: "This is excellent news for our staff, pupils and wider community. The excitement is definitely building and we all look forward to moving into the brand new accommodation with state of the art facilities. It will give the whole area a massive and well deserved boost."

Subject to procurement, the main construction of the new campus is expected to start in Summer 2024. Pupils will remain at the existing Willows High School site until the new school build is complete to minimise the potential for disruption.

In June 2023, the Council announced Morgan Sindall as the chosen contractor tocarry out the enabling works associated with thescheme which have included;

  • A stopping up order on Lewis Road and relevant highways works, to allow development to take place
  • Construction of active travel routes to the eastern perimeter of site
  • Installation of new utilities and relocation of existing services
  • Excavation and groundworks including the removal of contaminated material following disturbance of ground
  • Demolition of existing buildings located on Portmanmoor Road and at Splott Market site
  • Installation of secure fencing around site boundary

The contractors have alsotaken the design of the main school forward, under a Pre-services contract.