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Plans advance for £43m special school in Swansea

22 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Ysgol Pen y Bryn in Swansea. Photo via Google

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

Plans for a £43m special school have taken a step forward in Swansea, along with a wider school building programme.

The council’s cabinet has agreed to consult on a proposal to amalgamate Swansea’s two special schools – Ysgol Pen-y-Bryn, Morriston, and Ysgol Crug Glas, Dyfatty – in September 2025.

The idea is that the two schools would operate as one school, but on both sites, and then relocate to a £43m purpose-built facility next to Ysgol Pen-y-Bryn, Mynydd Garnllwyd Road, in April 2028.

The schools currently have 250 places for young people aged three to 19 with high levels of additional needs and are running at maximum capacity, with demand rising.

The purpose-built school would provide 350 places, and avoid the scenario of pupils with special needs having to be educated out of county.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Councillor Robert Smith, who has the education brief, said the proposed new school would greatly enhance facilities, as well as expanding capacity.

“It’s about the most vulnerable learners and about making provision for their needs in Swansea, as far as possible,” he said.


Council leader Rob Stewart said the proposed special school would “probably be the biggest single investment in any school site” in Swansea, and that it would be “absolutely fantastic” for pupils.

The annual revenue costs for the 100 additional places at the school is estimated at just over £2m per year – the equivalent of just over £20,000 per pupil. Cabinet will consider responses to the consultation after it closes on November 24.

Later in the meeting, cabinet agreed to add £9m to an ongoing school rebuild programme in order to mitigate inflationary pressures.

The rolling nine-year programme of new builds and upgrades – the majority of which is funded by the Welsh Government – is now expected to cost £176m, with the council contributing £46.7m of that.

A partial new-build of Gowerton Comprehensive School is one of the next projects on the to-do list, plus a partial new-build at Ysgol Bryn Tawe, Penlan, to add 188 Welsh language education places, and the £43m special school in Morriston.

A report before cabinet added that demolition of the vacant Daniel James Community School, Mynyddbach, was likely “as early as possible”, due in part to vandalism.

Cllr Stewart said not adding the £9m to the programme would have been the “easier decision”.

However, he said cabinet was keen to deliver the investment it had pledged as “that is what we were elected to do”.

The rolling nine-year programme concludes in 2028.

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