THE joint student council of Fairwater and Llantarnam Schools have been given the opportunity to inspect the progress of building works for Cwmbran High School.

The new school, due to open next September, will see Fairwater School and Llantarnam School close, and the current Fairwater School site revamped.

Nine students were invited to look around the inside of the lower school building where major work is underway and to ask questions of head teacher Helen Coulson.

The students were accompanied on their visit by contractors from Willmott Dixon Construction.

Mrs Coulson said that the senior leadership team at the school is “extremely pleased with the progress that is being made” in the lower school; where a significant amount of the £6 million budget is being spent.

There will be 19 new classrooms, a computer science area, a new sixth form facility, a supportive learning area and a brand new canteen.

There will also be a specialist hearing impaired base, an autistic spectrum disorder base and a number of offices and meeting rooms.

Most of the work on the upper school building will happen during the summer holidays, but work will begin at the end of June.

Plans for the upper school building include refurbishment of the current sixth form area into classrooms, a large performance hall, a new reception area, modern classrooms, additional fencing around the school and a new drop off area for children to be dropped off or picked up from the site.

Mrs Coulson said: “We now have a full compliment of staff; the curriculum has been agreed and a series of transition days and events to bring the pupils from their current schools together is underway.

“I have no doubt that Cwmbran High School will be a high performing, academic school where all pupils will succeed.”

She reassured that works to the classrooms will be completed by September ready for the new school year, with the performance hall on schedule to be complete before Christmas.

Year Nine Fairwater School pupil, Tyler Powell, said: “When we were first told about the plans to close the school we were a bit worried but now that we can actually see the changes happening we are really excited.”

The closure of the schools is part of the 21st Century Schools Programme that aims to reduce surplus places.

In April, a petition of more than 4,000 signatures was handed to Torfaen council calling for Llantarnam school to be saved.

But the authority maintained that Fairwater School was the best location for the new school.