The Welsh Government has announced that three new net zero schools are to be built in the North, South-West and South-East of the country, with school pupils in local communities to have a hand in the design process.
As part of the Minister for Education and Welsh Language’s Sustainable Schools Challenge, designs were sought out for innovative school projects that reflect collaboration with local communities and the children that will be learning inside the buildings.
The original funding was set aside for the delivery of two new buildings, however the high quality of entries to the challenge led to the Minister increasing the funding to allow for a third. This brings the total funding for the projects to £44.7 million.
Speaking about the projects, Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles said:
“Schools are much more than bricks and mortar. Well-designed buildings can play their part in tackling the climate emergency, supporting staff and learners with education, as well as delivering high standards and aspirations for all.
These three projects are extremely exciting as well as a blueprint for our future school developments. They offer an opportunity to learn about sustainability, but also for learners to have an opportunity to be involved with design and delivery of these buildings, to shape the environment they will learn with and to understand how decisions taken today have an impact on their future.
“Learning about sustainability is mandatory within our new Curriculum for Wales. The three projects present a great opportunity to inspire learners and realise the Curriculum’s aim to develop ethical, informed citizens.”
The first school, Ysgol Bontnewydd and Community Centre, will be constructed from the materials of two buildings on site that are to be demolished, as well as others that are sourced locally. These materials include timber, as well as sheep’s wool to be used for insulation.
A new Welsh language primary school and Welsh Immersion unit will deliver a wide range of community and educational services at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Rhosofan, with the council, partner organisations and local voluntary organisations supporting the delivery.
The Glyn-Coch community will be served by a new primary school as well, with this providing an active learning zone that will teach engineering principles, ecology and land management. The school will feature green roofs, rain gardens and nature based solutions to surface water management, as well as an on-site allotment.