Minister guest of honour at opening of Penarth school building

ACTION for Children’s Headlands School in Penarth unveiled its new lower school building last week with a special guest.

On Wednesday, October 26, Vaughan Gething, MS for Cardiff South and Penarth and the Welsh Government’s economy minister, cut the ribbon to open the new building.

In the audience were Alun Michael – South Wales police and crime commissioner, Melanie Armstrong – Action for Children’s CEO and Brigitte Gater – Action for Children’s national director for Wales.

School governors, students and families as well as Action for Children’s Wales Committee also attended the official opening.

The building will cater initially for 20 pupils between the ages of seven and 15 with space to expand provision to 24 pupils.

It consists of four purpose-built classrooms which will serve five pupils and a minimum of three staff.

These classrooms will provide a nurturing and organised teaching space which will allow pupils to work together collaboratively as well as have their own designated work areas for times when they need or want to work independently. 

Mr Gething said: “Meeting with staff, students and parents and listening to how much the work of the school means to them and how it has changed their lives in such a positive way.

“I look forward to visiting the school again in the future.”

Claire Houghton, headteacher of Lower School, said: “We’re exceptionally proud of our new building.

“Everything has been designed with our pupils in mind.

“In addition to the four main classrooms, we also have a library/ICT suite called Y Hwb which will combine a range of good old-fashioned books, magazines, newspapers and comics along with technology which will allow pupils to make their own videos and complete online research.

“Downstairs you will find The Cwtsh, a multi-purpose room which will be used as a dining facility for pupils and staff as well as an extra teaching space for breakout groups and a meeting area for staff outside of school hours.

“This has been designed to have a coffee shop feel and is a million miles away from your typical school canteen.

“The new building underlines Headlands’ commitment to innovation and ensuring the best possible environment for our pupils to feel safe and happy enough to enjoy learning again.”

Over the past two years, the school has acquired alpacas, chickens, ducks and a companion dog with students actively involved in all aspects of their care – from feeding the animals to building and maintaining their living areas. 

The animals have proved very popular with students, with the grounds being constantly improved to provide a safe and comfortable space for interaction.

Headlands School is an independent special school which offers day and residential placements for boys and girls aged seven to 19 who have difficulty learning as a result of early trauma, complex emotional and social issues, Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and Asperger’s Syndrome.

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