COUNCILLORS in Rhondda Cynon Taf have agreed to apply for funding for new buildings for three Rhondda Cynon Taf schools.
A report that got the approval of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, July 20 recommended the council submits a business case to Welsh Government to fund three new school buildings in Llantrisant, Llantwit Fardre and Pontyclun.
The 21st Century School projects for Penygawsi, Llanilltud Faerdref and Pontyclun primary schools would be funded through the Mutual Investment Model (MIM) which which enables investment up to a capital value of £500 million across the whole of Wales.
Under the MIM which is which is the revenue funding route for Welsh Government’s Band B 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme, the private sector partners will build and maintain public assets, and in return the council supported by funding from the Welsh Government will pay a fee to the private partner, which will cover the cost of construction, maintenance and financing the project.
At the end of the 25-year period of the contract, the asset reverts to the council.
Cabinet also agreed to move the MIM process to be progressed to stage two where WEPCo (Welsh Education Partnership Company), Welsh Government’s private sector delivery partner, carries out a tender process for the three schools.
Stage two will also develop the design of each school and the council said that headteachers have been involved in the initial design work, and as this progresses there will be full engagement with schools, governing bodies and councillors as well as consultation with the wider community.
During September 2020, cabinet agreed to begin the formal approval process for this project in the south of RCT.
This funding will be for an initial “pathfinder project” which will include Llanilltud Faerdref Primary School, Pontyclun Primary School and
Penygawsi Primary School.
There will be a contribution of up to 81% from Welsh Government. The remaining 19% will be funded by the council.
The cabinet report said they are all in areas of rapid housing
development and are all in need of investment in order to become fully
accessible and brought up to a 21st Century Schools’ standard.
It said all three have issues with access and have come to the end of their useful life.
It is hoped that the schools can be designed to meet all requirements in relation to Net Zero Carbon targets and feasibility works have been carried out at each school site, including ground investigations and an ecological survey.
The aim is to seek planning approval by December 2021 for all three and, if successful, the anticipated construction period for each school is expected to run from summer 2022 to early 2024.
RCT Council is one of two councils in Wales chosen to progress a MIM schools pathfinder project.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, leader of the council, said it’s excellent that RCT is one of two authorities involved.
He said if Welsh Government is prepared to them on this that is an “excellent way” of delivering new schools.
He said in areas of population growth the new schools would be welcome.