Pupils from schools across Wales have joined the Education Minister and the First Minister to celebrate the success of the end of the first phase of the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme.
- Welsh Government and delivery partners are investing £3.7 billion in schools and colleges across Wales.
- The first phase saw over £1.4 billion invested over the last 5 years, approving funding for 170 projects.
- The second phase will see a further investment of £2.3 billion to rebuild and refurbish even more schools and colleges and to transform them into community hubs.
During the event, the Education Minister previewed a series of videos created in partnership with schools and colleges from different areas in Wales to highlight the amazing new facilities delivered through the investment.
Ministers also had the opportunity to hear first-hand from pupils the difference the new facilities are having on their education.
The Programme, which has been described as the most ambitious school building programme since the 1960’s, will see £3.7 billion invested over two phases, with 170 projects already approved for funding.
At the event, the Education Minister officially launched the second phase of the programme, which has been rebranded as 21st Century Schools and Colleges, and will see a further investment of £2.3 billion.
A key focus of the second phase will be to transform schools and colleges into hubs for wider learning and local activities, challenging and supporting schools, colleges and communities in Wales to work together to put these facilities at the heart of their communities.
Speaking after the event, Education Minister Kirsty Williams said:
“Today’s event was a fantastic opportunity to come together and celebrate the first wave of investment, and hear from teachers and learners the effect the investment has had on them.
“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved so far with our delivery partners through this Programme.
“Our national mission aims to create an education system that the whole country can be proud of. The 21st century learning spaces we create through this Programme will play a key role in this, alongside a world-class new curriculum, and outstanding teachers and learners.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“The 21st Century Schools and Education Programme is a fantastic example of what we can achieve when communities, schools, local authorities, colleges and the Welsh Government work together.
“Too often we underplay our achievements in Wales. Today is great opportunity for us to celebrate the success of Band A and to look to the future and the next, ambitious phase of the Programme.”
Councillor Debbie Wilcox (Newport), WLGA Spokesperson for Education, said:
“At a time where local government faces financial pressures, the 21st Century Schools Programme is a shining example of what can be achieved when local authorities and Welsh Government work together. It represents significant long term investment which is creating educational communities that are fit for the modern age and which will enhance our pupils’ learning experience.
“Local government is keenly aware of the key role played by school buildings, not only as places to educate our children, but also as centres to be used by wider communities. Local authorities will now look forward to working with Welsh Government in the second phase of this Programme which will continue to transform the school estate right across Wales.”
The Education Minister added:
“The second phase of investment will focus on investing in projects that place schools and colleges at the heart of local communities, creating multi-purpose learning spaces that act as community hubs.
“I strongly believe that creating spaces within our schools that encourage inclusion with the local community provides our children and learners with a sense of belonging and raises their aspirations for the future.
Videos celebrating the first phase of the Programme are available to watch here.