Saturday, 24 October 2009

Vale of Glamorgan school celebrates news of £3.6m redevelopment scheme

Pupils and staff at a school at the heart of the Vale of Glamorgan rural community are celebrating news of a near £3.6m redevelopment scheme.

The scheme for the popular Pendoylan Church in Wales Primary, which is 136 years old, involves replacement of demountable classrooms with new build, refurbishment of the original school house structure to accommodate the nursery, library and staff and administration facilities, a new assembly hall (including kitchen) and provision of improved access, parking and a bus turning bay.

News of the massive redevelopment scheme is in sharp contrast to the school’s uncertain position in the late Eighties when pupil numbers had fallen to just 58. However, under headteacher Lyn Murray, who took up the post in 1995, the school has gone from strength to strength and now boasts a pupil roll of 204.

Two recent Estyn inspections, while acknowledging the successes, progress and achievements at the school, did, however, highlight the inadequacy of the building fabric and facilities.

The governing body sought to address the issues, resulting in the current scheme mainly funded by the Llandaff Diocese and the Welsh Assembly Government. The scheme is costing £3,587,500, with a £389,000 contribution from the Vale council.

Following approval of the Vale funding, cabinet member for education and lifelong learning Cllr Tony Hampton said: "The council is delighted to be able to support a scheme which will help Pendoylan continue to build on the excellent work achieved by Mrs Murray, her staff and the governors in recent years."

The local ward member, Cllr Rhodri Traherne, said: "This is a hugely important development which will transform the school and it is vital that the council is able to make this significant contribution. Without this contribution, the project might not have gone ahead."

Mrs Murray said: "Thanks to the excellent support of the governing body, we have strived to ensure that our thriving school provides the best possible learning environment for pupils. This scheme is a massive boost for pupils and staff, and will help the school to continue to build on the excellent Estyn reports following their last two inspections."

Chair of governors Jan Rees said: "The governors and staff at Pendoylan feel very fortunate that, in these difficult times, they are able to go ahead with this development. We are delighted that our vision is now set to become a reality, taking the school forward into the 21st century.

“We are very grateful to the Vale council and the Llandaff Diocese of the Church in Wales for their support and also to the Welsh Assembly for their investment and acknowledgement that village schools play a very important role in their communities."

The new development, which incorporates materials sympathetic to the site, surrounding buildings and landscape, includes several sustainable design elements. These include a geothermal heating system and sustainable surface water drainage system. Wherever possible, materials arising from the demolition will be recycled and used in construction work.

Judith Petersen, of chartered architects Petersen Williams, who prepared the scheme, said: "The redevelopment respects the historic character of the existing environment, and new additions will complement rather than compete with the important village landmarks.

“The refurbished school will be physically linked with the infant classroom accommodation, with all classrooms served by a ‘street’ running between the new and existing buildings. The larger hall will be at the ‘heart’ of the layout and provides a new focus for the school and the wider community."


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