Education fit for the 21st Century

As the school year comes to an end and Rhondda Cynon Taf pupils look forward to their summer break, work to deliver our ambitious improvements in education will continue to make progress.

Significant investment continues at pace across Rhondda Cynon Taf, where strong progress is being made on all of our ambitious 21st Century Schools investments in the Rhondda, Tonyrefail, and the new Cwmaman school. As these new schools take shape they are already clearly demonstrating the modern, state of the art facilities they will provide for young people. In addition to this programme, nearly £8M will be spent on schools across RCT during the summer holidays to ensure that all of our educational facilities remain fit for purpose and remain in a condition that can deliver the best possible educational environment for our young people.

By 2019, our 21st Century schools programme will have represented a £160 Million investment in our school buildings and seen over £30m more spent on improving our schools, making it the largest investment of its kind in Wales by some margin. Our ambitions for education in RCT do not stop there.

At the local elections in May, my fellow Councillors and I committed to continue investing in 21st Century school facilities and, to make this a reality, Cabinet considered outline proposals last week, for submission to the Welsh Government, to invest a further £160M in schools across RCT.

Our plans could include two new all-through schools, three major extensions to increase capacity in Welsh Medium education in one primary and two secondary schools, two new build Welsh Medium Primary Schools; it could also support the potential for ten new build primary schools and extensions to increase capacity at a further two primary schools.

In addition to this substantial investment in school facilities, we have made a clear commitment to protect the schools budget from cuts by increasing the funding for the delivery of education by at least £1M each year for the next five years. This is to ensure that children in RCT get the very best opportunity to reach their full potential. Like parents, pupils and teachers across RCT, we await the results of our young people in their A Level, GCSEs and vocational qualifications later in August and, on behalf of the Council, I would like to take this early opportunity to wish them the very best of luck later next month.

As many of you will know from your daily journeys, there is a also a significant amount of investment activity taking place across the highway network of RCT during the summer. There is never a good time to undertake this activity, but the school summer holidays do offer the best opportunity, with a little less traffic on the road, to undertake this work. This investment, such as the major works on the Maerdy Mountain Road and substantial resurfacing between Treorchy and Pentre, is all about future proofing our highway infrastructure. We recognise the difficulties the works can cause and thank everyone for their patience whilst these key works are taken forward.

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