AM hears of ambitious schools’ plans

Monmouth Assembly Member Nick Ramsay was given an update on the Welsh Government’s next phase of the twenty-first century schools programme at last week’s plenary session, during which he praised a scheme operated at Monmouth’s new Comprehensive School which involved pupils participating in the construction of their new school.

Describing the new school as “looking fantastic,” Mr Ramsay said he was impressed that as part of the construction, constructors had involved young people with an interest in engineering and construction in the process.

Mr Ramsay asked the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams when work would begin on developing schemes for other schools, such as King Henry VIII, which was in “a poor way structurally” and whether such schemes would allow young people to be educated “on the job” so that they could possibly pursue careers in construction or civil engineering that they might not otherwise have done.

Responding to Mr Ramsay, the Minister said that in allocating contracts to companies, there was a requirement that they engage with the schoolchildren in the process of building their school and that they looked to expand apprenticeship opportunities for older young people when undertaking that work.

She said: “We are now coming to the end of our first phase of our twenty-first century schools programme band A and are already beginning to assess bids from local authorities around their requirements for band B of the programme.”

The Welsh Government had made this even more affordable for local authorities by committing more capital to the band B programme, allowing local authorities to save on revenue costs associated with borrowing and to ensure that local authorities were able to be as ambitious as possible with their plans.

Commenting on the Minister’s statement, Mr Ramsay said: “I was pleased to hear that the Welsh Government’s 2019-2020 budget is committed to the success and well-being of pupils. I hope King Henry VIII will be one of the schools to be put forward by the local authority to benefit from these ambitious plans.”