A NEW era in secondary education in Barry began this week when Barry’s single-sex schools took in girls and boys for the first time.

More than £40 million is to be invested in the transformation on the former Bryn Hafren, now Pencoedtre High, and Barry Comprehensive, now Whitmore High, sites.

Whitmore High will see a complete re-build and a centre of behavioural excellence on the same site, costed at £32.5m in 2016, and Pencoedtre High a £11.5m refurbishment.

Pencoedtre High School head teacher Tyrone Davies said: “The school was vibrant and full, with former Bryn Hafren girls showing around their male counterparts. All pupils looked splendid in their new uniforms and were a real credit to their families and communities. The new Year 7 is a very large year group and nearly full. Pencoedtre’s youngest pupils easily made the leap from primary to secondary school and again were a credit to their former primaries. The school was naturally full of inquisitiveness and interest with pupils making new friends and meeting their new teachers. However, the biggest excitement was caused by the new and modern state of the art toilets that have been installed over the summer.”

Mr Davies added: “It has been a long time coming and that today was a Red Letter day for our site where boys, girls, and adults enjoyed the company of each other at the start of Pencoedtre’s journey to delivering an excellent education.”

Whitmore High introduced a new head teacher to Barry with Andrew Thompson.

Mr Thompson said: “The opening of Whitmore High School this week has been an incredibly exciting experience for all the staff, students, families and the wider community. It is the culmination of years of hard work – seizing the opportunity to transform education in Barry through educating boys and girls together in a truly comprehensive system. All our staff are striving to create an excellent school which will be the pride of the area, with the highest standards of academic achievement, sporting and cultural development, and student wellbeing. I have already seen our students, boys and girls alike, enter Whitmore with smiles on their faces and a determination to be the very best they can be. I cannot wait to see them continue to develop through the years and for Whitmore High to help them in every step of the way to achieving their hopes and ambitions.”