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Cabinet presented with the outcome of the consultation to make regulated alterations to Heronsbridge School

The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council met this week to discuss the outcome of the consultation to make a regulated alteration and to relocate Heronsbridge School to Island Farm.  The consultation concluded that the move would have a positive impact for all learners, staff and visitors.

The new school would be designed to be fully compliant with the Equality Act 2010 and would be based on area guidelines for special schools.

Due to its location and size, the Island Farm site in Bridgend was deemed to be the most suitable for the proposed school. The school development will have no impact on the Hut 9, former Prisoner of War Camp, which is a listed building.

There are significant additional benefits associated with providing a new enlarged Heronsbridge School:

  • Increased number of places for pupils with additional learning needs.
  • Reduction in the number of learners sent out-of-county (this practice is both expensive and imposes often significant travel times on pupils).
  • Suitable and sufficient accommodation which meets the needs of the most vulnerable learners.
  • New facilities including a swimming pool, music room, rebound therapy rooms, library, orchard, running track and coffee shop.
  • The proposed site is approximately one mile from the existing school site and therefore it is not anticipated that there would be any significant impact on the transportation of pupils.

Pupils will also have an input into the designs of the new school, which will incorporate eco-friendly building techniques.

Speaking during the consultation, Heronsbridge headteacher Jeremy Evans, said: “The current Heronsbridge School building has served Bridgend well. The building will stand the test of time, but it is not 100% suitable for the pupils we have here right now.

“I want to take the values, ethos and culture that we have here to the new school. I want to take all the facilities to the new school. I want warm, dry, safe classrooms and big corridors where pupils can move around safely. I want to ensure we get the best of everything. Change is scary, but this opportunity is exciting.”

The future use of the existing Heronsbridge School site would be subject to an options appraisal and a future Cabinet decision. The main school building has also recently been listed by Cadw.

The relocation of Heronsbridge is part of the £68 million school modernisation programme which will see new schools and improved educational facilities built around Bridgend County Borough.

The relocation and rebuild of Heronsbridge School will make sure pupils get the help, support and education that they both need and deserve.

The school modernisation project is a fantastic opportunity to move away from the approach of retro-fitting an older listed building, and to provide a purpose-built Sustainable Communities for Learning school suitable for modern needs.

Cllr Jon-Paul Blundell, Cabinet Member for Education

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