These presentations outlined achievements and next steps in two pivotal Welsh school programmes, both of which are on the journey to a net zero future.
21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme
The 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme (CSCP) is the largest strategic investment in educational infrastructure in Wales since the 1960s. It is delivered in ‘bands’ of investment, with grant funding being split 50/50 between the Welsh Government and local authorities. Band A lasted between 2014 to 2019, with a total investment of £1.4bn, delivering 170 education projects and benefitting over 100,000 pupils. Band B commenced in April 2019. Band B aims to deliver 200 schools and colleges, providing a total of £2.3bn of investment – £0.5m of which will come from the Mutual Investment Model (MIM) Programme. The 21st CSCP is delivered in partnership with stakeholders for stakeholders to understand common goals, local needs and how needs can best be addressed. In addition, collaboration extends to Welsh Government policy staff and end users (staff and learners) to maximise value for money and opportunities.
Net zero is a high priority agenda and this programme aims to deliver this via sustainable buildings. Burry Port Community Primary School, a Band A project, was Wales’ first Passivhaus school. It made a point of using Wales’ abundance of Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce timber as structural components. Timber was used to store carbon; absorbing and locking CO2 into its structure. New trees have since been planted to replace what was taken to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as well.
WEPCo and The Mutual Investment Model (MIM) Programme
WEPCo (Welsh Education Partnership) is a joint venture between the Welsh Government via the Development Bank of Wales who own 20% of shares and private sector delivery partner Meridiam Investments who own the remaining 80%. The Welsh Government supports the public sector through paying the private partner for their work. This capital covers construction costs, maintenance, and management of facilities across a 25 year period. Once the project is completed, it is transferred into public ownership.
WEPCo aim to deliver learning facilities for local authorities and further education institutions across Wales, and play a significant role in delivering such projects using the MIM model – worth a capital build value of £500m. However, before a project is taken to WEPCo, the Welsh Government first ensure that the project is viable and deliverable through MIM. WEPCo is responsible for the Development stage of MIM projects, as part of the 21st CSCP, where MIM provide additional funding. This Development stage ensures that objectives are delivered in compliance with the Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015); and providing community benefits; assembly of delivery supply chains; and environmental sustainability.
In terms of pipeline there are four colleges, 10 secondary schools and 19 primary schools, with a total capital construction value of £520m across the North and South of Wales. Two net zero in operation school pilot projects are to be run at Mynydd Isa in Flintshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf. Stage one submission has been received from Flintshire, with Rhondda Cynon Taf not far behind. In the coming years, learnings from these pilots will illuminate best practice and areas to refine to successfully achieve net zero.
Written by Holly Passmore, Thought Leadership Consultant, Step Connect2
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