These are exciting times in Caldicot as students and staff start the academic year in their newly-constructed state of the art school. Monmouthshire County Council in conjunction with partners at Interserve, the international support services and construction group, and Welsh Government has delivered a tremendous new learning environment for pupils and staff. Bright and inspiring spaces will enhance learning experiences.
The £36.5m learning environment incorporates a mixture of theatre style areas, a large hall and studio spaces to study informally, together with naturally lit classrooms and quieter areas for young people to enjoy. Construction embraces 21st century digital technology throughout which includes cinema quality projectors donated by audio-visual specialists Ricoh in theatre style spaces and interactive technology for teachers to share information with colleagues and students.
This energy-efficient space includes self-cooling technology in hot weather with heat release to reduce the need for traditional heating. Natural light is optimised throughout with automatic lighting to save electricity.
The school has been built by local people – with 70% of the builders, electricians, plumbers and engineers on site living in the area, including some past pupils. Many local apprentices have learnt skills on site and work experience students have contributed to the project to provide them with future job opportunities. Interserve in collaboration with the county council and Y Prentis, a shared apprenticeship scheme covering South East Wales, have exceeded the project community benefits target by 200%.
Community groups will benefit from these enhanced facilities too. The dance studio and hall can be used for community meetings, groups and fitness classes and the stage area provides a perfect performance space for local choirs and amateur dramatic groups.
Councillor Richard John, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Children and Young people said:
“It has been totally inspiring to visit Caldicot School. I look forward to hearing feedback from staff and students when they begin the new term and seeing the completion of the whole campus by summer 2018. This is a significant achievement and one which highlights how effectively Monmouthshire’s 21st Century Schools Programme is working. We look forward now to the next stage of our building programme with the completion of Monmouth Comprehensive School – also part of the programme and currently under construction.”
Headteacher Susan Gwyer-Roberts is delighted with the outcome of the investment in Caldicot’s community:
“I’m looking forward to welcoming pupils and colleagues into our 21st century school this September. I would like to thank staff, pupils, parents, governors and all our partners for their significant contribution into the design, to make this an inclusive learning environment for everyone. We have captured all that is currently very successful about our school and based on our values, we have enhanced it. These new spaces can now be used in the best possible way for all pupils to enjoy their learning and progress to adult life with the skills and knowledge to equip them for employment and lifelong learning.”