Around £300,000 will be invested to create a new education centre and youth hub for vulnerable pupils at Caerphilly’s Virginia Park development.
The building will support vulnerable pupils who aren’t able to attend mainstream or specialised schools.
The hub will host the youth service and will increase Caerphilly County Borough Council’s capacity “to support some of the most vulnerable learners”.
The youth service hub will support around 5,000 young people in the borough.
A report on the plans says: “This investment would include extensive refurbishment and reconfiguration across the ground floor and selective refurbishment of the first floor.
“This would include a reception area, sliding partitions, versatile education spaces, a nurture room, youth spaces, one-to-one support areas, offices and improved toilet facilities.”
The report adds: “This site will initially enable the authority to focus specifically on the needs of a small number of the Key Stage 3 or 4 cohorts who move out of Glan Y Nant (The Learning Centre).
“The development of this facility will also allow for a short-term assessment centre for older students.
“This will serve to reduce the amount of education missed by students who may have received an exclusion from school.”
The building will allow for both formal and non-formal learning and will support the development of the proposed centre for vulnerable learners – which will be based in Pontllanfraith.
The centre for vulnerable learning was given the go-ahead by the council’s cabinet last July and will go by the name ‘Cwmpawd’.
Cwmpawd will help centralise the system to support vulnerable learners and potentially re-integrate them into mainstream schools.
Approved students to the centre would be assessed by a panel, who would discuss the individual’s learning and wellbeing needs.
Although a planning application is still required, the council has approved Pontllanfraith High School as the site for the new centre for vulnerable learners.
Aside from the Virginia Park development, around £172,000 will be invested into a second satellite classroom for Trinity Fields pupils at St Cenydd Comprehensive School.
Both schools already enjoy strong links, with St Cenydd currently hosting one satellite classroom.
To create the second, the existing space will be split into two classrooms. Disabled toilets and store rooms would also be provided.
The satellite class will be led by the headteacher of Trinity Fields, Ian Elliot MBE.
Council cabinet member Shayne Cook, who represents the Morgan Jones ward, where Virginia Park is located, said he was “very glad” to see “such a large investment into youth provision in the Caerphilly basin”.
Cllr Cook added: “The youth service membership for the Caerphilly basin is approximately 5,000, so this site will provide a valuable service to those young people who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training), homeless or would like general support.”
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