Construction starts on new Fitzalan High School



The informal local event was held to mark the project milestone. It was attended by Cardiff Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry and the First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford MS as representation of the partnership between Welsh Government and Cardiff Council in the delivery of 21stCentury Schools.

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In order to limit the number of guests on site and in support of keeping Wales safe and staying at home to protect lives against COVID-19, Cardiff Council Leader Cllr Huw Thomas andFitzalan High School Headteacher, Cath Bradshaw joined the event by virtual means.

Other guests includingpupils from the school, representatives from local primary schools,local politicians and officers from Cardiff Council and Kier, the contractor chosen to build the new school, also joined the event virtually, providing them with an opportunity to take part in the celebration of the start of this investment project. 


Former Fitzalan High School pupils, Kaya Emmanuel and Jayden Singh Landa, who have both secured apprenticeships with Kier and are working on site as part of the team responsible for delivering the new build school, were invited to help cut the turf during a live segment of the virtual ceremony.

Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas said: "The new Fitzalan High School will continue the success of other secondary schools redevelopments already undertaken across the city and I am pleased that despite the challenges of the last year, the project has been able to progress at pace.

"Investing in schools and education remains our top priority for Cardiff, andour £284m Band B 21stCentury Schools and Education programme is the greatest single investment in the schools estate Cardiff has ever seen. It'sa clear demonstration of our continuing commitment to our young people - giving them a good education in world class schools.Children are the future of this city and it is essential that they haveaccess to modern facilities and quality learning environments which will help them to realise their potential.

"Importantly,this community focussed school will also mean that local residents in Canton, Riverside and Grangetown will have access to excellent amenities on their doorstep, providing a substantial boost for the area."

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: "The start of construction is a key landmark for pupils, staff and parents of Fitzalan High School but also for the whole community who will benefit from this £64m investment in the Canton area.

"Having Kaya and Jayden on site to help cut the turf on behalf of everyone involved in the project, is a poignant reminder that this new school signifies an exciting future for Fitzalan High School and everyone who attends there."

First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford MS said: "Today we celebrate the first steps towards delivering the new Fitzalan High.

"I am delighted that through our 21stCentury Schools and Colleges programme we are able to support this project with an investment of £64m. This will transform the learning environment for students at Fitzalan, giving them a school to be proud of.

"It's been a real team effort and the local authority, the community and the hardworking staff should be proud of transforming a vision into reality to support and inspire our children to learn and believe in themselves."

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Fitzalan High School Assistant Headteacher Jo Kemp said: "At Fitzalan our vision was to provide a building that would reward the staff, inspire the pupils, benefit the community and support us all to be the best we can be.

"Throughout the planning stages we have developed really positive relationships with the council project teams, the architects; Austin Smith Lord and Kier Construction, with all parties sharing our passion and determination to develop the best possible scheme.

"Staff and pupils have been involved at all stages with their ideas and vision incorporated into the design. What we are building is more than just a school to us and our community, it is our future. The journey so far has been really positive and we are excited for the next stage."

Nigel Phillips, Kier Operations Manager for Kier Construction in Wales,states: "We are delighted to be celebrating the Virtual start on site ceremony of the new Fitzalan High School today with the First Minister, members of Cardiff Council as well as teaching staff and pupils of the school. Over the course of the next two years, we look forward to delivering this new purpose-built school that will provide exceptional facilities and an inspiring learning environment.

"We are committed to leaving lasting legacies in areas in which we work and we are proud to be supporting theCardiff Commitment initiative to assist young people in finding career paths in the construction industry, by providingjob and training opportunities to the local community. We will also be engaging with pupils and teachers at the school, showcasing project milestones as well as sharing the journey of two former students who have recently joined our Kier Degree programme."

On November 18, 2020 Cardiff Council's Planning Committee approved plans for the new school which include:

  •            Erection of a 3 storey high school to accommodate 1850 pupils,
  •            New community swimming pool.
  •            Provision of MUGAs
  •            Provision of 1 3G rugby / football pitch.
  •            Provision of 1 3G under 16 hockey / football pitch.
  •            A staff car park (47 spaces) and visitor car park (24 spaces including 8 disabled bays).
  •            Associated hard and soft play areas 

Photo 1-Cllr Sarah Merry, Jayden Landa, Kaya Emanuel, First Minister Mark Drakeford,

Photo 2-Virtual guests

Photo 3 -Left to right, Nigel Phillips, Operations Manager Kier, Cllr Sarah Merry, Jayden Landa, Kaya Emanuel,  First Minister Mark Drakeford, Debbie Morgan, Fitzalan High School Chair of Governors