About the 21st Century Schools Programme

The 21st Century Schools programme is a collaboration between the Welsh Government and Local Councils in Wales. It is a significant, long-term and strategic capital investment programme with the aim of creating a generation of 21st Century Schools in Wales.

We developed a very ambitious Strategic Outline Programme in 2010 amounting to nearly £500 million. This was originally envisaged for the 2012 – 2024 period.

Band A

The Welsh Government subsequently developed Band A (2014 – 2019) of the programme and Caerphilly currently has secured £56.5 million (funded 50/50 between Welsh Government and Caerphilly County Borough Council), as follows:-

The Islwyn High School final business case included a proposed spend of £2 million on Blackwood Comprehensive. It is envisaged this will be funded mainly from the overall allocation of £56.5 million.

These developments will result in improved teaching and learning environments. Other benefits include: -

  • Reduce surplus places at Primary schools
  • Reduce surplus places at Secondary schools
  • Reduce annual running costs eg heating, lighting and building maintenance
  • More effective asset management, including improved condition factors, reduced 25 year maintenance liabilities and releasing surplus sites
  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Meet increased demand for Welsh Medium education
  • Modernisation of ICT infrastructure
  • Develop shared and co-located facilities eg community rooms, pre-school integrated childrens centres
  • Increased compliance re sufficiency and suitability

Band B

The Welsh Government (WG) 21st Century Schools and Education Programme required all local authorities to submit Band B Strategic Outline Programmes (SOP) for consideration by 31 July 2017.

The key aims of the 21st Century Schools and Education Band B investment programme, outlined by Welsh Government are to:

  • Reduce the number of poor condition schools.

  • Ensure that we have the right size schools in the right location, providing enough places to deliver Welsh and English medium education.

  • Ensure the effective and efficient use of the educational estate for use by both Schools and the wider Community.

The ‘Band B’ programme of proposals, totalling £110million, have now been developed. The projects include new school builds, amalgamations, school refurbishments and expansions at sites across the whole county borough.

It is important to stress at this stage these are only proposals and consultation with all key stakeholders will be a critical part of the process as the plans develop over the next 7 years.

Key highlights of the Band B proposals includes: 

  • New builds at Upper Rhymney Primary School, Tynywern Primary School, Ysgol Cwm Gwyddon (Welsh Medium), Plasyfelin Primary School,  Park Primary School and Gilfach Primary School (Amalgamation)

  • Extension and refurbishment on Llanfabon Infants site to amalgamate Llanfabon Infants and Llancaeach Junior Schools. 

  • Relocation of Ysgol Gymraeg Gilfach Fargoed to the refurbished Park Primary School site.

  • Refurbishment of the existing Tynywern Primary School to create a new Welsh Medium Primary school.

  • Refurbishment of a school site to relocate Ysgol Y Lawnt

  • Refurbishment of a current site to create a fit for purpose Pupil Referral Unit

  • Expansion of St James Primary School

  • Creation of an additional specialist provision through the expansion of Trinity Fields School

  • Relocation of Brynawel Primary School pupils to Upper Rhymney and Idris Davies Schools.

  • Review of sixth form provision, single sex provision and surplus places in Caerphilly West, which will determine £32million of potential investment.

  • Review of childcare provision in the area to be included for all projects 

  • £23million refurbishment of secondary schools

  • £10million refurbishment of primary Schools