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New school for city's vulnerable pupils taking shape

A brand new teaching facility that is taking shape in Swansea will make a huge difference to the pupils and their teachers when they move in next year, a headteacher has said.

New Etoas school

The steel frame, which will provide a one of kind, purpose built, attractive and functional education provision for pupils Educated Other Than At School on land off Cockett Road, is now being erected.

When completed the school will replace the existing outdated pupil referral  accommodation currently spread over three different sites at Brondeg House in Manselton, the Step-Ahead site in Cockett and the Arfryn Education Centre in Penlan.

Head of the Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), Amanda Taylor said: "It's going to make a massive difference because it will provide a much more positive and inviting learning environment that will enable us to provide greater opportunities for learning and to fully implement the new Curriculum for Wales.

"In terms of both pupil and staff wellbeing this new building is going to make such a difference and we are all excited to see the progress that is being made and are really looking forward to moving in."

The new build at Cockett is being jointly funded by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government.

Pupils who use the service range from age 5 to 16 and all struggle with aspects of their social, emotional or behavioural development. The council's aim, wherever possible, is to support them to return to mainstream education.

The new build is being delivered by Kier Construction who stepped in when the previous contractor, Dawnus, went into administration in March.

The company has been working closely with the PRU's staff and pupils to ensure that they are fully involved in the development of the build.

Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart said: "The new build is looking fantastic and the construction is moving very quickly so the pupils can start moving in next Autumn.

"I would like to thank all the teams who have worked on this in both the council and Welsh Government and of course Kier for stepping in and taking the project on.

Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, Jennifer Raynor added: "The young people supported at the PRU are among the most vulnerable in our communities. If their needs are not fully addressed then their chances of employment and wellbeing are greatly reduced. Our continuing investment in this service is an investment in their future."

The steel frames have been made in Wales from Welsh steel and where possible Kier are using local suppliers and subcontractors.

Jason Taylor, Operations Director for Kier Regional Building Wales, said "The construction of the new PRU provides a brilliant opportunity to engage and inspire the young people who will use the centre when it opens next year and we are delighted to be working with Swansea Council to deliver this great facility. Throughout the build programme, we are organising site visits for pupils and staff to involve them in the project and so they can see the progress on site.

"We are also setting projects for the young people that link to their studies and give them an insight into the range of career opportunities in construction. We aim to help the them really understand what a job in the industry would be like and show the steps they could take to achieve it.

"We are also working closely with our supply chain to create opportunities for apprentices, trainees and career changers and have already seen three local people recruited in roles directly linked to the project construction."

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