Three new net zero carbon schools to be built – with design help from school pupils

The Minister’s Sustainable Schools Challenge invited bids for innovative projects which demonstrated collaboration with local communities, including school pupils, in the design, delivery and management of the schools. Originally two winners were set to be announced, but given the high calibre of entries the Minister has agreed funding for three new sustainable schools – a capital investment of £44.7m for all three projects.

Ysgol Bontnewydd and Community Centre will be zero carbon in operation, using recycled materials from two buildings on site that are due to be demolished, and source construction materials as close as possible to the site, including timber and sheep wool insulation.

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Rhosafan will be a new Welsh language primary school and will include a Welsh Immersion unit, delivering a range of educational and community services that will be provided by the Council, partner organisations and by local voluntary organisations.

The new primary school to serve the Glyn-Coch community will include green roofs, rain gardens and nature based solutions to surface water management and create an educational, wellbeing and civic hub under one roof. It will provide an active learning zone to teach engineering principles, ecology and land management, with an allotment on site.

Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said:

“Schools are much more than bricks and mortar.  Well-designed buildings can play their part in tackling the climate emergency, supporting staff and learners with education, as well as delivering high standards and aspirations for all.

“These three projects are extremely exciting as well as a blueprint for our future school developments. They offer an opportunity to learn about sustainability, but also for learners to have an opportunity to be involved with the design and delivery of these buildings, to shape the environment they will learn with and to understand how decisions taken today have an impact on their future.

“Learning about sustainability is mandatory within our new Curriculum for Wales. The three projects present a great opportunity to inspire learners and realise the Curriculum’s aim to develop ethical, informed citizens.”