Posted on: Monday 19 November 2018
Today, (Monday, November 19) Torfaen Council and Coleg Gwent officially cut the first sod of Torfaen’s new post 16 learning centre to mark the beginning of a new era for education in Torfaen.
Although the foundations are well underway, the ceremonial sod cutting ceremony marked a significant milestone in the construction of the new £24 million learning centre due to open in September 2020.
As part of the ceremony, Council Leader, Anthony Hunt and Coleg Gwent Principal, Guy Lacey also revealed the new Coleg Gwent campus would be called the Torfaen Learning Zone.
The Torfaen Learning Zone is part of the council’s 21st Century Schools programme and is jointly funded by the council and Welsh Government.
The new Coleg Gwent campus will become the home of all English language A Level education in Torfaen and will offer students the Welsh Baccalaureate plus a range of level 2 & 3 vocational qualifications.
The campus replaces three English medium school sixth forms in the borough. It will be managed and run by Coleg Gwent in partnership with the council and will provide the pathway for Torfaen students into higher education, training and employment.
Leader of Torfaen Council, councillor Anthony Hunt said: ‘This ceremonial sod cutting of the Torfaen Learning Zone is a landmark day for the council and helps secure a more sustainable way of delivering post 16 education in Torfaen. Our schools have managed admirably, but the financial environment presents huge challenges which are unlikely to get any easier in the years ahead.
‘Our motivation as always is our learners, and making sure they will be able to access the broadest possible curriculum and quality of provision into the future. The development of the wider site represents a joint investment of over £27 million and takes the total amount of capital investment in education in Torfaen since 2014 to just under £90 million.’
Executive Member for Education, Councillor David Yeowell, said: ‘This is a momentous event in Torfaen’s history and it is fantastic to see our schools represented here today. The change from school based sixth forms has naturally presented challenges, but I have been very impressed with the spirit of cooperation that has developed with Coleg Gwent to ensure that everything is delivered to the highest possible standard. I’m particularly looking forward to witnessing the first intake of learners stepping into the Torfaen Learning Zone in 2020.’
Coleg Gwent’s Principal, Guy Lacey added: ‘Today marks a key milestone in the development of this fantastic facility for all of Torfaen. It is a celebration of what is to come and we very much look forward to welcoming our first learners when we open the doors in 2020.’
The Torfaen Learning Zone is in a prime location next to the Morrisons store in the centre of Cwmbran with excellent links to public transport and facilities in the town centre.
Notes for Editors
The 21st Century Schools programme is a One Wales commitment and a unique collaboration between the Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and councils. It is a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme with the aim of creating a generation of 21st Century Schools in Wales.
The construction phase is expected to take 80 weeks and the new building will be handed over to the council and Coleg Gwent in the middle of 2020 to allow pupil and parent tours of the new facilities.
Photos from the event are available to download here Torfaen Learning Zone album