Neath Port Talbot ‘21st Century School’ set to inspire future generations

The latest addition to Neath Port Talbot Council’s 21st Century Schools programme – the £27 million rebuild of Cefn Saeson Comprehension School in Neath – is set to further enhance pupils learning experience, thanks to inspiring furniture design and unique custom wall graphics, supplied by local firm Ministry Group.

Construction of the new two-storey, 97,000 square foot building was completed alongside the existing school in June 2021, with demolition of the old building currently underway.

The school’s 900 pupils will now benefit from a new building and 48 state-of-the art classrooms, including creative workspaces and SEND facilities for students with additional learning needs.

Ministry Group, comprising of Ministry of Furniture and Ministry of Graphics, was appointed to undertake all loose furniture modelling, specification, supply and installation at the school by main building contractor, Morgan Sindall Construction.

Working closely with the school’s senior leadership team and Neath Port Talbot Council, the Neath-based furniture and design specialists planned all loose furniture for the school to comply with BIM level 2 standards.

As a result, the new building now benefits from ultra-modern furniture and unique interior artwork, to go along with its cutting-edge facilities and technology.

The bespoke wall and ceiling graphics – which includes student artwork printed directly onto ceiling tiles – is designed to complement the specially designed furniture and create an inspiring working and learning environment for the school’s occupants.

Research has shown that well-designed, colourful classrooms can boost learning progress by 16% in core subjects. Further studies show that colourful furniture and wall art can positively effect students’ moods and inspire creativity.

As a further part of its work with Cefn Saeson Comprehensive, Ministry Group also designed new branding for the school which features on the uniform, external building signage, stationery and branded furniture.

The 21st Century Schools programme is a collaboration between the Welsh Government and local councils in Wales. It is a significant, long-term and strategic capital investment programme with the aim of creating a generation of 21st Century Schools across the country. The total 21st Century Schools programme spend to date in Neath Port Talbot’s school estate has now reached £150m – a massive investment in Neath Port Talbot’s future generations, and the biggest of any council in Wales outside of Cardiff.

Councillor Peter Rees, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, said:

“Cefn Saeson is the latest 21st Century Schools building project the council has commissioned with the aim of giving our young people the best and most up to date educational facilities the council can possibly provide them with. We were delighted Morgan Sindall appointed a local, Neath based furniture supplier with excellent social aims and community benefits.”

Stuart Moyse, Deputy Headteacher at Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School, commented:

“We are so pleased with the completed school. Ministry really added value with their furniture knowledge and graphics expertise. The printed ceiling tiles were a unique addition which have been very well received. The Graphics team worked closely with our teaching staff to ensure the wall art met expectations and they kept us up to date throughout the project.”

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