Wales

£350m Aberdare super-school plan unveiled

Artists' impressions of school
Image caption The school has been proposed as part of an 'education, leisure and community masterplan'

Plans for a controversial multimillion-pound super-school for 1,600 pupils in the Cynon Valley have been unveiled.

Artists' impressions of the £50m project have been shown to staff and pupils at Michael Sobell Sports Centre in Aberdare.

Blaengwawr Comprehensive, Aberdare Girls' and Aberdare High schools are earmarked to close in August 2014.

In May, the Welsh government gave the green light to the closures, despite objections.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council is proposing the school on one site as part of an "education, leisure and community masterplan" from September 2014.

But David Evans, the head teacher at Blaengwar school, said community schools needed to remain within the Cynon Valley so pupils were given a more personal education.

'Disappointing'

"Blaengwawr has always been a school for the community," he said. "We are like a big family. We know all the parents and pupils and that might be lost within the new school.

"I believe areas of social deprivation like ours need smaller schools - they are more effective in establishing children's needs.

"But we have fought the fight and haven't won it. It's disappointing.

"We hope the changes won't affect the teaching standards, but some teachers are already looking for work elsewhere - and who would blame them?

"The important thing is that the pupils' transition is as smooth as possible."

The plans include the creation of a modern, state-of-the-art sport and leisure centre, expanding the existing Aberdare pool and demolishing the Michael Sobell Sports' Centre.

Eudine Hanagan, cabinet member for education, skills and lifelong learning, said: "This ambitious scheme forms part of the council's robust response to the issues facing our young residents today.

"They need and deserve flexible, exceptional learning environments in which they can secure the education, qualifications, vocational skills and personal development they need to thrive in whatever they choose to be in life."

She said the scheme would give children "the best possible opportunities".

"Of course, this development will also benefit the wider community, complementing the extensive regeneration of the town centre to ensure Aberdare has an excellent range of leisure, health, social and shopping experiences for its residents but also to attract new visitors and investors," she said.

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