Work has completed on the new school building for Pencoedtre High School in Barry, Wales.

Designed by HLM and built by Bouygues UK, the project forms part of a £34.7 million investment into the 21st Century Schools Programme, a long-term strategic investment in schools and colleges throughout Wales developed by the Vale Council and Welsh Government.


Built over a two-year construction period, the new school provides modern facilities catering for up to 1,050 students and 200 sixth form students, with additional amenities to accommodate pupils with enhanced learning needs.

The school includes two three-storey teaching wings, connected by wide corridors and large windows to increase ventilation, centred around an open plan dining hall, main hall, and courtyard. The design incorporated state of the art music studios, science labs and a fitness suite, alongside a full-size sports hall that connects directly to the external sporting facilities, also designed by HLM, which are expected to be open to the local community outside of school hours. The external sporting facilities, which are under construction, offer a high-quality, multi-functional area that can be used to enhance learning and wellbeing, with spaces for socialising, learning, recreation and relaxing.

The focus on the local community has been evident throughout the project, as student ambassadors worked with the contractors to give pupils exclusive access to the site throughout construction, enabling them to learn about different stages of the build. As a result, the “topping out” ceremony was marked through some of the student ambassadors signing the building’s main beam.

Gareth Woodfin, Cardiff Studio Director, HLM Architects, said: “It’s great to see the school open and the students using the new facilities. Our design creates a welcoming educational environment that reflects the area’s rich industrial history. These new facilities will provide students with the resources they need to excel academically while extending support to the local community by acting as a central hub for residents in the surrounding area, aligning with our design philosophy to help positively shape the areas we serve.”

Work on site is continuing with the demolition of the old school and construction of the external sporting facilities, with full completion expected in February 2023.


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