The New Ysgol Hafod Lon
The new multi-million pound Ysgol Hafod Lon which educates children and young people with additional learning needs within the Meirionnydd and Dwyfor area, has been officially opened by Alun Davies Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language and Gwynedd Council Chairman, Councillor Eric M Jones.
Ysgol Hafod Lon which is located in Penrhyndeduraeth, provides places for up to 100 children and replaces the former Ysgol Hafod Lon that served generations of children in Y Ffôr.
The £13 million School has been jointly funded by Gwynedd Council and Welsh Government, through its 21st Century Schools and Education Programme. The new school which plays a crucial part in securing specialist provision for children with additional learning needs provides a first-class educational environment for pupils in the Meirionnydd and Dwyfor area, with 84 pupils already attending the new school.
The new school features modern, well-equipped classrooms, as well as a hydrotherapy pool, therapy rooms, sensory equipment, and outdoor play and learning facilities as well as a short break/residential unit. A garden and café is also part of the school, providing an environment for older pupils to develop their entrepreneurial skills.
Watch the video clip below to have a look at the new school:
A sod cutting ceremony was held at the new site in Penrhyndeudraeth on 13th February 2015 to celebrate the start of work on the new school and residential and short break units.
School name and uniform
The Ysgol Hafod Lon Board of Governors has decided to continue with the name Ysgol Hafod Lon and the present uniform and logo when the school relocates to Penrhyndeudraeth.
Steps before opening
Following a final decision by Gwynedd Council Cabinet and appointing a contractor Gwynedd Council officers and the Head of Ysgol Hafod Lon have been working hard to ensure that the school and residential and short break units will be ready in time for admission in the Autumn Term 2016.
This work includes:
- Agreeing the staffing structure for the new school by discussing and agreeing positions for existing staff and appointing any additional staff needed
- Registering and staffing of residential unit
- Ensuring support for staff, pupils and parents to make the move as easy as possible
- Supporting the governing body's work leading to the relocation of the existing school
- Arranging transport for the children who will go to a new school
Appointment of contractor
Following a tender process, the contract to build the new school was awarded to Wynne Construction, a North Wales based construction firm.
Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Gwynedd Cabinet Member with responsibility for Property matters said:
“Over recent years, the Council has worked effectively in partnership with Wynne Construction to deliver a number of projects including both the new schools at Ysgol yr Hendre in Caernarfon and Ysgol Craig y Deryn in Llanegryn that have won construction awards.
“We know from experience that Wynne Construction share our commitment to keeping as much of the benefit of such projects in the local economy by employing as many local contractors and staff on their projects as possible and supporting local businesses in their supply chains. We now look forward to finalising the agreement with them and to see work start on the new school.”
At its meeting of 9th October 2012, the Council Cabinet agreed on the 'Priorities Plan - Area of School Organisation' which included the aim of the Council to adapt its Special Educational Needs provision.
The report noted the Council's wish to amend its Special Education provision because the capacity of the existing provision at Ysgol Hafod Lon is insufficient and in need of being modernised and extended.
Also, it was noted that 'there is appropriate and suitable provision for the northern part of the county at Ysgol Pendalar, Caernarfon, and the new provision will aim at establishing a similar provision, at a central location, for the remainder of the county. The current provision is not centrally positioned for the area it serves, and the resources within it do not meet modern educational requirements.'
Agree options and consultation
Following a number of meetings of the Working Group to assess possible options to address the needs of the provision, and a series of meetings with staff, parents and relevant school governing bodies, the Gwynedd Council Schools Portfolio Member, Councillor Gareth Thomas, presented a report to the Cabinet on 10th June 2014, where they agreed with the recommendation to commence the process of a statutory consultation in accordance with the requirements of the School Standards and Framework Act (Wales) 2013 to relocate Ysgol Hafod Lon and Uned Tŷ Aran to a new site in Penrhyndeudraeth on 1st September 2016, increase the school's capacity and add a residential (and short break) facility.
A statutory consultation period was held between 23 June - 5 August 2014 and following this a further report was presented to the Council Cabinet on 16 September 2014, detailing the results of the consultation, the comments received and the Council's response to them and the recommendation following the consultation. This report can be seen in the attachments below. The Cabinet approved the recommendation to the proposal to relocate Ysgol Hafod Lon and Uned Tŷ Aran to a new site in Penrhyndeudraeth on 1 September 2016, increase the capacity of the school and add a residential element to the provision, and publish statutory notices in accordance with Section 48 of the Schools Standards and Framework (Wales) Act 2013 in order to implement this.
The Statutory Notice was issued on the 21st November and a 28 day period between 21st November and 19th December 2014 was allowed for any objections. No objections were received.
In its meeting on 13 January 2015, the Gwynedd Council Cabinet approved to relocate Ysgol Hafod Lon and Uned Tŷ Aran to the new site in Penrhyndeudraeth on 1 September 2016, to increase the capacity of the school and add a residential element to the provision.
Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Education said:
“I am delighted that work can now get underway to build this ambitious and much-needed facility. As a Council, we are committed to raising standards and ensuring that all of the county’s pupils have access to the very best educational facilities so that they can fully realise their potential.
Our plans for this brand new school include the very latest facilities which will improve the lives of the children who attend as well as their families. The staff at Ysgol Hafod Lon and Uned Tŷ Aran provide excellent education, but the fact is that the present facilities no longer meet modern needs.
We are therefore looking forward to this exciting project which will deliver a major investment in the Meirionnydd and Dwyfor area of the county.”
More information about the different stages of the project can be found in the attachments below.