Ysgol Bae Baglan took 18 months to build, with £20m coming from the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Education Programme.
The programme is worth £1.4 billion over 2014-19 and is the largest investment in schools and colleges since 1960s. All 22 local authority areas are benefitting from the money, with construction underway on 53 projects and 59 completed to date.
Funding of around £126 million from the programme has been earmarked for Neath Port Talbot.
The new building has capacity for 1500 pupils, and replaces three secondary and one primary school. It is one of only seven all-through schools in Wales that will educate pupils from age three to sixteen.
The school will stay open until 10pm on weekdays, with the canteen transforming into a cafe open to the community.
Kirsty Williams said:
“This wonderful new £40m school is the biggest single education investment for the county to date. When you look around this fantastic site it is evident this has been money well-spent.
“It means children and young people in the area have the most modern environment available for their education and realising their ambitions.
“This project is not only benefiting the teachers and children, but has provided training and work experience opportunities for the local community, and jobs for local supply chains.
“This school will also be an invaluable community resource for sport and recreational activities for individuals, groups, clubs and societies to use and enjoy. This is another example of how we are continuing to invest in our schools and in the community.”
Ysgol Bae Baglan has been shortlisted for a prestigious award by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.