Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's ambitious £85m, school reorganisation plans for Rhondda and Tonyrefail have reached a significant milestone after the appointment of Headteachers for the new 3-16 Tonypandy and Porth schools and the new 3-19 Tonyrefail School
The new Headteachers, Kirsty Retallick (Tonypandy), Yvonne Jones (Porth) and Heather Nicholas (Tonyrefail) will begin their roles shortly and will focus on the transition process from the current school set ups to the new, all through school structure.
Supported by the Welsh Government's 21st Century Schools programme and the Council's own three-year, £200m, RCTinvest programme, work is underway on new and improved school facilities at each of the three schools with pupils, staff and the wider communities set to benefit from September 2018.
Cllr Eudine Hanagan, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: "The appointment of our Headteachers for the new Tonypandy, Porth and Tonyrefail schools is a key stage in our plans to reorganise education provision in Rhondda and Tonyrefail.
"The development of all through schools brings a number of benefits which will be enjoyed by pupils and staff and our new heads will play a leading role in shaping the schools and engaging with the community.
"We have successfully recruited three outstanding professionals who each have fantastic track records – Heather and Kirsty within RCT and Yvonne in an Academy in England – and I know all three are looking forward to getting started.
"Our £85m investment, made possible with the support of the Welsh Government's 21st Century Schools programme, will reshape and improve educational provision in Rhondda and Tonyrefail in a similar manner to previous investments in Aberdare Community School and Ysgol Llanhari.
"In recent years, educational attainment in RCT has improved faster than the Welsh average across Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 and last year saw our best ever GCSE results.
“This demonstrates our approach, which includes investment in schools, better use of data to inform school support services and our commitment to the Central South Consortium, is working and is benefitting pupils across the county borough.
"Our new Headteachers for Tonypandy and Porth 3-16 schools and Tonyrefail 3-19 school will each, I am sure, have a positive impact on the new schools and I wish them well."
Heather Nicholas is currently the Headteacher of Ferndale Community School having joined the school in May 2011.
Heather, who will be the Headteacher for the new 3-19 Tonyrefail school, said: "Being appointed Headteacher is a huge honour and I am very much looking forward to working alongside students that range in age from 3 to 19 years.
“This is a very exciting opportunity to showcase what can be achieved by the young people of RCT.
“I am very much looking forward to working within a team that will use the potential of a purpose built learning environment to maximise learning across the community.
Kirsty Retallick is currently Acting Head at Tonypandy Community College, having joined the school in September 2005.
Kirsty, who will be the Headteacher for the new 3-16 Tonypandy school, said: " It is my enormous pleasure and privilege to have been appointed the Headteacher of the 3 -16 school in Tonypandy.
“I am confident 2018 will be the catalyst for education for children and young people in the Mid Rhondda.
“Bringing together exceptional people to provide excellent learning experiences to ensure that every child thrives in a 3-16 environment.
“We will work closely with children, parents and the wider community to lay the foundations for all children to become exceptional young people. We will achieve this through every school day being a good school day.”
Yvonne Jones is the Executive Head for South Gloucestershire and Stroud Academy Trust having joined them in April 2015.
Yvonne, who will take up the post as Headteacher of the new 3-16 Porth school, said: "I am delighted that I have been appointed as the Headteacher of the new Porth 3-16 school and am very excited to be leading its development and shaping the future for our young people.
"I am determined the school will sit at the heart of this community and I am looking forward to working with the community to ensure this is the case.
“I want our school to provide a nurturing environment where our young people will thrive, have every opportunity to achieve the highest standards and experience success."
The Council's £85m plans will see the following changes implemented:
– Opening of a new 3-19 school with a new main school building, a new building for primary aged pupils and complete refurbishment of the Grade 2 listed red brick building
– Improvements to Tonyrefail Leisure Centre which will benefit the wider community and see PE classes taught on site
– A new 3G pitch adjacent to the leisure centre for use by the school and the community
– Remodelling of, and improvements to, the existing school with a new building for primary aged pupils together with improved onsite parking and parental drop of areas.
– A new 3G pitch on the school site for use by the school and the community
– Remodelling of, and improvements to, the existing school with a new building for primary aged pupils
– Improved site access and parking together with parental drop off areas.
All-through schools will see primary and secondary aged pupils educated on the same site, benefitting from improved transition and access to better educational and leisure facilities.
Primary and Secondary aged pupils will have separate access points and outside leisure space and will only integrate under planned supervision.
As part of the £85m investment, improvements are also being made to Treorchy Comprehensive School and Ferndale Community School and a new Primary School, combining Cymmer Infants and Juniors, is also being established.
Treorchy Comprehensive will benefit from a brand- new science block and a remodelled teaching block with new music practice rooms, improved access and parking plus a new multi surface games area.
Ferndale Community School will have improved access to the site and classroom refurbishments.