Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen 

Bridgend County Borough Council

Project of the Year Winner 2014

Project Location Heol Yr Ysgol, Tondu, Bridgend CF32 9EL
Contract Period 24/10/11 – 4/04/14
Project Start Date (on site) 24/10/11
Practical Completion 19th July 2013 (Phase 1) 4th April 2014 (Phase 2)
Contract Value £33,886,742 plus novated FF&E
Type of Work New Build
Construction Product School
Architect John James, Scott Brownrigg
Engineer Marcus Tulloch, Jubb Consulting

Project Overview

The project involved the Design and Build of a replacement secondary provision for two comprehensive schools which were situated 1.2 miles apart and served two distinct catchment areas.

The new school building was due to open to pupils in September 2013 however, both schools amalgamated in September 2011 and operated on a split site basis for two years until the new school building was ready for occupation.

The 1570 place secondary school was built on the playing fields of the former Ynysawdre School and that site needed to accommodate the existing school throughout the build process. The former colliery site presented challenges with two mine shafts to be capped and adits to contend with.

Phase 1 involved the construction of the new school building which was completed on time.

After the schools transferred into their new accommodation, demolition of the old school buildings too place, releasing land to provide new sports facilities, car parking, bus drop off area and highway construction and improvements.

The vision was an exemplar project. From innovative teaching and learning environments to sustainability, local investment and engagement. This project was inspirational for staff, pupils and the community and sets the standard for best practice

Project Description

The vision statement:

Create an inspiring, innovative and sustainable facility in which children, young people and the wider community will thrive, make the best of their talents and enjoy healthy and safe lives.

The Gateway to the Valleys sub programme of the School Modernisation Programme was a major initiative and a pioneering development in Bridgend.

The second phase of the School Modernisation Programme sought to deal with 11-18 education provision in the Valleys Gateway and the valley areas of the Ogmore and the Garw. There were three school located in this area. One of these was Ogmore Comprehensive School which was situated 1.2 miles away from Ynysawdre Comprehensive at Tondu. The third school was Archbishop McGrath Catholic Voluntary Aided School which served the whole of the county borough and which shared a campus with Ynysawdre Comprehensive School.

The School Modernisation Programme seeks to transform the away in which children and young people live and learn so that they:

  1. Thrive and make the best of their talents;
  2. Live healthy and safe lives;
  3. Become confident and caring individuals throughout their lives;
  4. Know and receive their rights

While the Gateway to the Valleys sub programme would improve educational facilities and make them ‘fit for purpose in the 21st century’ it also seeks to be more than this.

It was not enough to put old schools into new buildings, given the changing needs of society, new learning methodologies and new technologies. Change needed to be brought about not just in the nature and quality of the accommodation but also in how teachers teach, how learners learn, how schools serve their community in a number of ways, contributing significantly to economic regeneration by improving the skills base, raising aspirations and bringing wider opportunities to all.

The design stems from a ‘school within a school’ concept with vertical tutoring at the heart of this, creating smaller schools within the larger building, each with its own team of teachers maximizing opportunity for positive relationships.

An extended school service offered to the valleys gateway and local community both during and after school hours was another key aspect. The school would not only be a place of teaching but a support hub with the inclusion of a Multi-Agency Team to provide a whole host of support benefits from parenting courses to adult social care, within a community wing with facilities to allow local groups and organisations to meet, practice and train and expand their knowledge through adult education programmes.

The school building would be designed so as to allow the Meals at Home service to operate from the school building. Vocational courses, the youth service, county youth orchestra and various sporting facilities needs were to be met through first class provision.

The construction industry is continually faced with an ever changing landscape of regulation and reform whether it be increased sustainability ratings or lower site waste generation. The Gateway to the Valleys project overcame these challenges and exceeded industry standards by introducing a CHP between the local Swimming Pool, Home for the Elderly and the new school, gaining a BREEAM rating (design) of 89.82% and an EPC of 0 together with 100% diversion of non-hazardous construction waste.