ISG announced the commencement of work on the £20 million Ysgol Y Deri expansion project

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ISG has announced the commencement of work on the £20 million Ysgol Y Deri expansion project for Vale of Glamorgan Council. The provision of an additional site is part of The Welsh Government and Vale of Glamorgan Council's Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme to increase the number of special education places available.

Originally constructed to accommodate 205 pupils with complex physical, health and educational needs, the original school is currently over-subscribed, in a trend which is likely to continue as pupils stay on for longer periods. The proposal to expand Ysgol y Deri with additional places on a split-site provision was selected as the preferred option to deliver additional pupil places, with the project now underway. The second location is in Cosmeston, within close proximity to the original build.

Cllr Lis Burnett, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “Through the BBC’s fantastic recent documentary ‘A Special School’, we have all seen how crucial specialist teaching and support is for pupils with special educational needs and it is imperative we provide all children in the County with the environment they need to flourish.

“The staff at Ysgol Y Deri carry out truly incredible work and as a Local Authority we are hugely grateful for those efforts. But these pupils also need the correct facilities to reach their full potential. Currently, there is an acute need for more special educational provision in the Vale, which is why we are constructing this new 6th Form building on the outskirts of Penarth. A significant £20 million investment will help us create a state-of-the-art learning community to help those that use it excel.”

“Bringing new learning spaces to Ysgol Y Deri resonates deeply with us. With external spaces designed to function as an extension to the school buildings, the project pursues the balance for pupils both in study and social wellbeing and provides holistic spaces for their additional learning needs.”

Kevin McElroy, Operation Director, ISG

Angela Sheppard, Project Lead at HLM Architects, commented: “Ysgol Y Deri’s expansion is another key project for the Vale of Glamorgan, providing essential spaces for pupils with Additional Learning Needs. We’re pleased to be part of delivering this vital infrastructure to better accommodate the diverse needs of pupils in the area.”

Conna Ryan, Associate Project Manager at AECOM, commented: ‘'We are delighted to be a part of this significant project for the Vale of Glamorgan Council. The collaboration between the project team and key stakeholders has developed a design that will significantly benefit the schools’ future learners’’
Indoor spaces for the school have been arranged over two storeys, allowing for the most efficient building shape, while maintaining a compact footprint and as much external space as possible. The classrooms are split over both floors, with ground floor classrooms also providing direct access to outdoor learning spaces. Externally, the landscape will function as an extension to the school buildings, offering teaching and study spaces as well as areas for sport, play, socialising, relaxation and reflection.

The school’s design will benefit from maximum daylight and ventilation, as well as connecting views between indoor and outdoor learning and play spaces. Additionally, green roofs add to biodiversity, ensuring a consistent connection to the natural environment.

A neutral colour palette has been selected due to the calming effect on ALN pupils, highlighted with natural accent colours of blue, yellow, orange and green to show zones of space. Careful consideration has been given to adjacencies within the school, allowing for ease of access to specialist facilities and the main hall outside of school hours, for community use.

Ysgol Y Deri forms part of the Penarth Learning Community, the largest learning facility in Wales which completed in 2015. The community development co-located five schools, both additional learning needs (ALN) and mainstream, into one fully inclusive facility.

You can view the BBC documentary here: BBC iPlayer - A Special School

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