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(UK) Wales: Calls for new special school; funding: $68M

June 23, 2023, Wales Online: A council wants to build a new special school in Rhondda Cynon Taf and people are being asked what they think

More details have been released on plans for a new special school in Rhondda Cynon Taf. A report to the council’s cabinet on Wednesday, June 28, will recommend it starts a consultation on building a new 3-19 special school in the county borough….

The report said children and young people who wished to remain in their existing special school following the catchment changes could continue to do so. However, all new placements will be under the revised catchment areas once the changes are put in place, so that children attend their local facility. The cabinet report highlighted the pressures faced by RCT’s special schools as the number of pupils was increasing each year.

It said children’s needs were becoming more complex and there was a need to meet demand for placements for some of the most vulnerable children living in the area. It said that since February, 2021, the special school population had grown by 94, which it said was a “significant growth.”

The report said that alternatives to expand the existing special school sites had been exhausted and the only feasible alternative was to build a new 3 to 19 special school on a new site. It added that this would significantly grow the special school provision and increase the number of special schools in RCT from four to five. There are currently 670 pupils at four special schools across RCT which are: Maesgwyn Special School in Cwmdare, Park Lane Special School in Trecynon, Ysgol Hen Felin in Ystrad, Tonypandy and Ysgol Ty Coch in Tonteg with Buarth y Capel in Ynysybwl being a satellite site of Ysgol Ty Coch.

The agreed capital funding to deliver a new special school is £53.4 million [$68M], with the Welsh Government funding this project by up to 75%. The report said the majority of pupils (75.9%) currently accessing the special schools across RCT used home to school transport.

The new school would have dedicated on-site drop-off and pick-up facilities making this process safe, less disruptive for the community and manageable for staff, the report added.

There would also be a review of safe routes to school and, if required, an investment in improvements to walkways, road crossings and traffic calming measures to ensure the required safety standards are met….


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