A new primary school in Torfaen has taken a step forward - with the official sod cutting ceremony.

The occasion was graced by the Welsh Government's cabinet secretary for education and MS for Torfaen, Lynne Neagle, alongside staff and students of Maendy Primary School.

This sod cutting ceremony marks the £17.1 million construction of the new 420-place school.

Besides the learning facilities, the new school will house new Childcare and Flying Start facilities.

Funded by Torfaen Council and the Welsh Government, this project is an initiative under the government's Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme (SCfL), previously known as the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme.

The scheduled completion for the new school is July 2025 and plans for opening community facilities are set for February 2026.

Until then, pupils will continue their learning journey in the existing school premises.

Upon completion of the new school building, the old structure will be knocked down.

The council has plans to landscape the school campus by including two playgrounds, a forest school zone, play equipment, and a grass sports pitch.

Extending her appreciation to the head boy and head girl, Max and Lola, Ms Neagle said: "I'm proud as a Welsh Government we have continued to invest in school building as we recognise the importance of high quality school building for our children and young people, and I must recognise the role of the council who have consistently prioritised funding to deliver first class education facilities."

Echoing similar sentiments, Cllr Richard Clark, Torfaen Council’s executive member for children, families and education, said: "This school is a look to the future.

"It will be Torfaen's first Net Zero carbon school and will see the capacity of the school rise from 231 to 420 with a 30 place nursery which provides capacity for the predicted growth in pupil numbers.

"The development will also include facilities for the wider community and will include an additional needs assessment centre, flying start, a play group and childcare facilities."

Reflecting on the fiscal aspects, the total cost of the new school, inclusive of pre-construction work and design, is £17,131,842.

The council is investing £5,220,608, while the Welsh Government pledges the remaining amount through the SCfL programme and the Childcare Capital Grant.

To further education, since 2015, Torfaen Council has committed nearly £130 million for new, extended, and refurbished schools under the former 21st Century Schools Programme.