WALES' first all-in-one age three to 16 school will be officially launched in Ebbw Vale this week (SEPT 5).
Pupils will remain in their current schools, awaiting a phased transfer to the new site at The Works over the next year, but when they restart the new academic year on Wednesday they will all have a new uniform bearing the new Ebbw Fawr Learning Community name and logo.
More than 1,400 students from Pontygof and Waunlwyd primary schools and Glyncoed and Ebbw Vale comprehensive schools, whose schools will close as part of the merger, will also start working under a new curriculum and management team.
Once the new £57 million building is complete, primary school pupils will move across before the end of this year, followed by the secondary school students next year. The new school will have state-of-the-art IT equipment as well as specialist drama, science, design technology and art teaching areas.
Graeme Harkness, founding director of Ebbw Fawr learning community, said the facility would help transform Blaenau Gwent communities and provide students with opportunities which were second to none.
He said the overall education offer at The Works, including the new post 16 Learning Zone, was designed to make the transition between primary and secondary to further education easier for students.
The replacement Pen-Y-Cwm special School at the site would encourage integration and inclusion, he added.
Council leader Hedley McCarthy said: "Ebbw Fawr Learning Community will provide students with a sound, consistent and nurturing education community that gives them the best and most exciting learning opportunities, enabling them to fulfil their potential and create new prospects across the whole borough."
Education minister Leighton Andrews said the scheme would give young people the chance to succeed in education, while chairwoman of the school's temporary governing body Cllr, Jen Morgan, said it was great to see the council's dream coming to life.