Work officially commences on new pioneering education campus in Fairwater, Cardiff, Wales
The £110m project is the largest in scale and investment, of Cardiff’s education developments delivered under Cardiff Council and Welsh Governments Band B Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme. The development will include the construction of three new build schools for Cantonian High School, Riverbank School and Woodlands High School, all situated on a single site.
The ground was cut at the site by Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford, Cardiff Council’s Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas and Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sarah Merry.
They were joined by Head of School at Cantonian High School, Geraint Jones and Chair of Governors Barbara Connell together with Executive Headteacher, Wayne Murphy and Chair of Governors Bianca Rees from the Western Learning Federation, of which Riverbank School and Woodlands High School are both a part of. Also in attendance were representatives from HLM Architects and ISG the contractors chosen to undertake the detailed design and build for the scheme.
The development will be Net Zero Carbon in line with Welsh Government standards and will set the standard for future Cardiff school projects. Each of the three schools will be highly energy efficient buildings that are powered from renewable energy sources, enabling Cardiff to deliver on its One Planet Strategy, which outlines the city’s ambition to mitigate climate change.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “It’s great to see the construction of the new campus get underway, which will provide young people from Cantonian, Woodlands High and Riverbank with an inspirational and modern learning environment. As well as being Net-Zero carbon, the campus will provide facilities which benefit the community in this part of Cardiff for years to come.
“I’m really pleased the Welsh Government has been able to support the new development, through our Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme, and I look forward to visiting again once the campus is complete.”.
In March 2023, Cardiff Council announced that ISG was selected as the preferred bidder for the design and build of the new joint education campus, to be located in the Fairwater area of the city.
ISG has now undertaken the detailed design process for the scheme and delivered the temporary accommodation associated with the works, ahead of the build. It will now build the remainder of the Net Zero Carbon campus, which will target significant reduction in operational and embodied carbon. This means the three schools will be highly energy efficient buildings that are powered from renewable energy sources, enabling Cardiff to deliver on its One Planet Strategy which outlines the city’s ambition to mitigate climate change.
The new campus will include the replacement of the Cantonian High School buildings with new build accommodation on the same site expanding the school from six forms of entry (6FE) to eight forms of entry (8FE) with sixth form provision for up to 250 pupils, the expansion of the Specialist Resource Base (SRB) for learners with an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), hosted at Cantonian High School to 30 places in purpose built accommodation in the new school building, the relocation of Woodlands High School and Riverbank School to the Fairwater Campus site from its current site adjacent to Trelai Park, with an increased capacity to 240 places for Woodlands and 112 for Riverbank in new build accommodation.
The campus will also offer comprehensive facilities which will be available for public use outside of school hours. It is anticipated that works on the campus will be completed by Autumn 2026 with works on Cantonian High School completing by the end of 2025.