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Pupils create lasting legacy ahead of move to new school

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Pupils counting down the weeks until they can move into their new school building have created a lasting legacy to let children in the future know what school life is like today.

The children at Ysgol Gymraeg Tan-y-lan have worked with staff to gather items for a time capsule that has been buried on the site of the new £9.9m build in Clase.

The development is nearing completion and they are due to move from their existing site at Tan-y-lan Terrace in Morriston to their new home in Clase after the Christmas holiday break.

Pupils joined Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart, Cabinet member for Education Improvement Robert Smith and other senior councillors at the new site to bury the time capsule.

It includes photos and recordings of performances along with items of news and information that will give a flavour of school life in 2021.

The new build is jointly funded by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government under the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme and is part of a £170m investment in new and improved schools in Swansea which is the largest such investment in the city’s history.

Cllr Smith said: “The new school building and facilities are absolutely first class and I can see how excited the staff and children are about moving into their new home.

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“This will give them the very best surroundings in which to work and is very different to the old outdated accommodation of their current buildings.

“The contractors Kier have done an amazing job in building this school while working safely during the pandemic and I can’t wait to see the pupils settle in. I’m really looking forward to visiting them again when it opens.”

The new build at Hill View Crescent has an increased capacity and a nursery that will help meet additional demand for Welsh medium education in the future.

YGG Tan-y-lan headteacher Berian Jones said pupils and staff were very excited about the move and said they had all worked together to create the time capsule.

He added: “Pupils from each year group were involved in preparing USB’s filled with examples of activities, photos and performances that have been placed in the capsule.

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“We have also collected items that represent the school and our ‘cynefin’ habitat – we also included items and information from current time that explain our current situation and current events in history.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Education

New teaching block and sports facilities open at school

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Pupils and staff at Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr have moved in to a brand new two storey teaching block as part of a £6.7m investment in facilities at the school.

Contractors Kier Construction have completed the first phase of the project which has eight new classrooms along with a new hall providing a vastly improved dining area and served by a new school kitchen.

New state-of-the-art sports facilities including a multi-use games area, running track, 2G and 3G training pitches, are also proving popular and are being well used.

The project has been jointly funded by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government under the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme.

The new 3G pitch at Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr (Image: Swansea Council)
The new MUGA at Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr (Image: Swansea Council)

Headteacher Dafydd Jenkins said: “The new build is already making a really positive difference and our staff and pupils say it has changed the vibe at the school.

“The classrooms are bright and modern and the dining area is such an improvement on the facilities we had before.

“The new sports facilities are being very well used by our PE department, by our sports and athletic teams and by the pupils during their break times.”

Phase two of the project will see further improvements and remodelling to existing buildings which have now been vacated and are on track to be completed by the spring.

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Once finished it will increase the capacity of the school by around 195 pupil places, meeting the growing demand for Welsh medium education in Swansea.

Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, Robert Smith, said: “I’d like to thank the school, Kier and our education building services teams for working so well together in delivering the first phase of this exciting project and it is very pleasing that it is already being so well used.

“More pupils are attending the Welsh medium primary feeder schools for Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr so this investment is needed to ensure we can meet the demand for when pupils move on to secondary school.

“Swansea Council is committed to providing our young people with the best education possible and this investment at YG Gŵyr is part of a much wider £170m being spent on improving schools across Swansea, which is the biggest investment of its kind that Swansea has ever seen.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Construction

Construction tips for pupils at Copr Bay visit

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Pupils from Swansea’s Pentrehafod Comprehensive School have visited the city’s Copr Bay phase one development to see progress on site with their own eyes.

The year ten and 11 pupils, who are ambassadors for a business class that Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd runs with the school, saw how features of the scheme including Swansea Arena and the new coastal park are coming along.

Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd leads on the construction of the £135m Copr Bay phase one project, which is being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development managers RivingtonHark.

The business class visit was the latest of a number to the site, where pupils take photos of changes, learn more about the construction industry and report back to their classmates on latest developments.

Representatives from Swansea Council, Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd and Careers Wales were also present at the visit.

Young people from Pentrehafod School with representatives from Swansea Council, Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd and Careers Wales (Image: Swansea Council)

A spokesperson for the Pentrehafod School business class said: “It was incredible to experience what it would be like to work on a building site. 

 “It was also amazing to get to see how much progress has been made since the first visit.”

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “The Copr Bay phase one district is for the people of Swansea, so it was a pleasure to welcome these local schoolchildren on site where they could see up-close the huge amount of progress that’s been made in recent months.

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“It’s their generation who will benefit from facilities like the arena and coastal park for many years to come, but these visits also enable an insight into the construction industry at a time when there is so much redevelopment on-going to transform our city into one of the UK’s best places to live, work, study and visit.

“Visits like these can inspire the next generation of construction professionals by showing how school subjects can equip our young people with the skills needed to progress into the industry.”

Young people from Pentrahafod School are shown around the new Arena site (Image: Swansea Council)

Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd was recently shortlisted for the Best Ongoing Relationship with a School Award at the Careers Wales Valued Partner Awards.

Susan Jones, Major Projects Social Value Manager at Buckingham, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Pentrehafod School over the past two years. Having applied for their positions, 14 pupils were selected to become Buckingham Ambassadors on Copr Bay phase one.  They have proven to be excellent ambassadors, working with myself and the site team, monitoring progress throughout the build of this iconic project.”

Construction of Copr Bay phase one will be complete later this year, with the arena, to be run by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), opening its doors in early 2022.

Copr Bay phase one also includes new apartments, the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, new car parking and new spaces for leisure and hospitality businesses.

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The arena feature of Copr Bay phase one is being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal as part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project that also includes the new office development soon being constructed at 71/72 The Kingsway.

The bridge over Oystermouth Road is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel fund.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Charity

Swansea student joins BBC Children in Need challenge

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A Swansea student is joining a group of five young people selected to take part in a new fundraising challenge for BBC Children in Need.

The Surprise Squad is made up of inspirational young people who have been supported by BBC Children in Need and want to give back and lend a helping hand to benefit others.

Joined by The One Show presenters Alex Jones, Ronan Keating and Jermaine Jenas, the Surprise Squad will head to locations around the country where they will complete surprise challenges for BBC Children in Need funded projects that are in need of a little help with something – which could be anything from creating a secret garden for a children’s hospice, or organising a much needed community fundraising event to give a local project a boost.

The team of young people will deliver their surprises and complete them within a day. The One Show viewers will be able to watch how the surprises unfold each evening, whilst learning the young people’s inspiring stories, during BBC Children in Need Appeal Week.

Among the Surprise Squad is Gower College Swansea A Level student Nathan Pollard-Jones, who is 17.

Nathan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when he was 13 years old in 2018. He was an active teenager but was feeling fatigued so he went to the doctor and was eventually diagnosed with cancer. Nathan spent three years in treatment with a lot of time spent in hospital, which he found tough as he had to spend a lot of time away from school and his friends.

In addition, some of his treatment was delivered during Covid-19 which made things even harder as he had to isolate from family and friends to minimise his risk of catching it. Nathan has recently finished treatment and attends College, where he is studying A Levels.

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He has been supported by Teenage Cancer Trust, who receive funding from BBC Children in Need to deliver the Find Your Sense of Tumour weekend which helps young people rebuild their lives after cancer. They bring young people with cancer together to hear from experts, to get advice and most importantly, to be themselves and have fun.

Nathan said: “Having recently finished my cancer treatment, I feel so proud that I’m able to be a part of the Surprise Squad. I hope that the surprises we create make a huge difference to others who are facing challenges.”

The One Show’s Alex Jones will be joining the team during one of the surprises and said: “I’m excited to be back on the green sofa, and to be joining the Surprise Squad as they deliver these really special challenges for BBC Children in Need funded projects across the country. I can’t wait for the audience to see what the Squad get up to and I hope that they’re inspired by their incredible stories.”

Ronan Keating will also be joining the team for one of the surprises. He said: “We’re so excited to be delivering these surprises for worthy organisations across the country. We hope that these surprises will make a huge difference to those receiving them and we can’t wait to bring the audience along to see what the Surprise Squad get up to!”

Jermaine Jenas added: “I’m looking forward to seeing some of the amazing things that the Surprise Squad get up to, and how what they do will benefit communities across the country, and I hope that our audience love watching it all too!”

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The other members of the Surprise Squad are:

Ore, 19 from Barry, Wales.

Ore is a young carer who helps look after her younger sister Ire who is 14 and has Sickle Cell Disorder. Ore was the main carer for her mother, who passed away two years ago in October 2019 following many years of illness. Ore lives with her father and her sister. Ore is a passionate advocate for families who live with Sickle Cell Disorder – she wants to breakdown the stigma that can sometimes affect people with Sickle Cell Disorder. She also wants to highlight just how serious the impact of Sickle Cell Disorder can be on people’s lives and give people from all walks of life a better understanding of the condition. Ore has been supported by Friends of Cymru Sickle Cell and Thalassemia through their youth project and their home support service.

Ore said: “I’m so looking forward to being a part of the Surprise Squad and doing something that will make a huge difference to other children and young people across the country.”

Joseph, 19 from Liverpool.

Joseph has cerebral palsy and has been attending the BBC Children in Need funded project Stick ‘n’ Step since he was two years old. He says the project has changed his life in many ways, not least by teaching him how to walk. Joseph underwent a major operation in 2016 in which he had to learn to walk again, he has since recovered and now describes himself as someone with a hidden disability, as following his operation his disability is less prominent.  This can be difficult for him to explain though sometimes, as he stills finds certain moves or work that he doesn’t have strength for, hard to accomplish.

Joseph said: “Being part of the Surprise Squad this year is something that I’m really looking forward to. I want to share my story and hope that I can help raise money for other children and young people like me.”

Roisin, 16 from Derry/Londonderry, NI.

When Roisin was 14, she had a stroke which caused her life changing disabilities. She spent three months in hospital and had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat.  Up until then she had been a healthy teenager who loved singing and performing. Since having the stroke, things can be quite difficult for Roisin as she isn’t able to do all of the things that she used to but her confidence is being rebuilt and she’s looking forward to being a part of the Surprise Squad. Roisin has been supported by Brain Injury Matters who deliver a youth empowerment project with funding from BBC Children in Need.

Roisin said: “Being part of the Surprise Squad is a huge achievement for me. I’m really looking forward to helping make a difference that will benefit others. I hope that those who can do, donate.”

Dylan, 18 from Glasgow.

Dylan has autism. He developed a rare condition called MDP Syndrome when he was 18 months old, finally receiving a diagnosis aged 10. MDP only affects him and 15 other people in the world and it causes deafness, fat loss under the skin, joint stiffness and eye problems. Dylan is really passionate about raising awareness of his condition, throughout his school life he has delivered speeches to his classmates about MDP and also uses his skills in photography to do this, as he is a passionate and talented photographer. He has been supported by Indepen-dance for many years, which delivers dance sessions for disabled young people.

Dylan said: “I have spent my life raising awareness for my condition with school friends and my wider community.  I’m really looking forward to being able to share my story with The One Show viewers. I hope I can help to raise money that will go on to support other young people like me.”

Rob Unsworth, Head of The One Show said: “This year we really want to give a helping hand to some of the projects that have been funded by BBC Children in Need. The Surprise Squad will help provide a little bit of magic to projects across the country, whilst sharing their inspiring stories too.”

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Tommy Nagra, Director of Content at BBC Children in Need said: “It’s fantastic The One Show are back with a brand new challenge this year. The amazing stories of the young people overcoming their own challenges to thank, surprise and delight  others in need  is truly inspiring .  We hope viewers at home are equally inspired by their efforts. Please tune in to The One Show to see the amazing things this remarkable team of young people achieve!” 

For details on how to donate and support The Surprise Squad for BBC Children in Need visit www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey 

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