14 February 2012
Work has officially begun on the 11-16 phase of the 3-16 School, located at The Works in Blaenau Gwent at a turf cutting ceremony held by leading construction firm Willmott Dixon in Wales, in partnership with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.
The ceremony, in the Presence of Minister for Education and Skills Leighton Andrews, was held on the site of the new Ebbw Fawr Learning Community with local dignitaries and members of the community. The new build school is part of The Works regeneration project to transform the former steelwork site in Ebbw Vale. The £27million project is due for completion in autumn 2013 with pupils due to start within the school for the following autumn term. The 1,200-pupil, three-storey secondary school for 11-16 year olds features a variety of learning spaces as well as a multi use games area, grass running track and football pitch.
Willmott Dixon is one of several contractors on the framework for The Works and has also worked on the refurbishment and extension of the Grade II* listed General Offices.
Minister for Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews said: “I am very pleased to be here today to launch the 11-16 phase of the Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
“The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring that every child in Wales is educated in an environment that is conducive to learning for the 21st Century.
“I am sure this new building will provide an inspirational environment for teaching and learning for many years to come.”
Neal Stephens, managing director of Willmott Dixon in Wales, said: “There will be a significant education provision within The Works which aims to improve the learning portfolio within Blaenau Gwent. The secondary school will sit alongside a new build primary school and further education college, making it a comprehensive education destination. Willmott Dixon has extensive experience for design-and-build schools so we are pleased to be able to bring this expertise to deliver a quality project for Blaenau Gwent. We are also committed to the local community wherever we work within Wales. This means we will do our utmost to source our materials locally, use local subcontractors and employ local people to ensure that any investment is recycled throughout the local economy.”
The name of the new school was chosen by the students of four schools in a ballot with the winning name chosen as Ebbw Fawr Learning Community – Cymuned Ddysgu Ebwy Fawr.
Cllr J Morgan, Chair of The Temporary Governing Body, said: “This will be the first 3-16 maintained school in Wales and the name selected by the students and pupils provides us with a clear message about our future. It’s all about learning here. We now look forward to starting in September with a name I know we will be proud of”
Cllr John Mason, Leader of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council added: “Education is a top priority for Blaenau Gwent Council, which is pursuing an ambitious strategy to raise educational achievement and create a more vibrant future for local communities. We’re delighted to welcome the Minister for Education and Skills to share in our celebration of an important milestone in delivering that strategy. The first maintained school of its kind in Wales, the new 3-16 school represents a multi-million pound investment in education in Blaenau Gwent.”