More than 2,000 children in Redcar and Cleveland will mark the start of an educational era next week when three brand new schools simultaneously open their doors.
Pupils at Bydales Specialist Technology School in Marske, Gillbrook College in South Bank and Sacred Heart RC Specialist Science College in Redcar, will return from their half term holiday on Thursday, 2 November to study in new state-of-the-art buildings as part of a £155million project.
The new schools are the latest of five new schools to be built in Redcar and Cleveland in just 18 months thanks to a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract. In April 2006, 600 pupils at South Bank Community Primary and St Benedict’s RC Primary School moved into new buildings as part of the project, co-ordinated by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
Councillor Steve Kay, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Next week is a momentous week for Redcar and Cleveland and I am delighted to see three more first rate schools being made available to more than 2,000 pupils. The creation of five new schools in such a short space of time is testament to the commitment of both the council and local schools to continue to improve the education of our children and young people.”
Built by Carillion Regional Building and designed by RyderHKS architects, the three new schools each boast the most up-to-date learning facilities. The new buildings each include auditoriums and drama suites with hi-tech sound and lighting equipment, e-learning rooms to seat up to 60 pupils, music suites complete with recording studios and sports facilities installed to Sport England standards. A viewing platform has also been created at Bydales School to enable pupils to map ships and study birds, gaining educational benefit from the school’s coastal location.
All three schools also use the latest biometric finger scanning technology to support their school meals services. Each mealtime, pupils will use finger scanning technology to enable them to claim a school meal. School meals are pre-paid at the start of a day, week or term, minimising the need for pupils to carry money to school.
Headteacher of Bydales Specialist Technology College Tony Hobbs said: “We are all extremely excited to be moving into such a modern building with first rate resources that will undoubtedly be an excellent learning environment for our students.”
Pupils from all three schools have played a central part in finalising the layout and designs of their new buildings. Earlier this year, students attended a council-run design workshop to give their views on landscape proposals, furniture designs, room layouts and test out some of the information technology (IT) and drama equipment.
Headteacher of Sacred Heart RC Specialist Science College Pat Hibbert said: “Our new situation will enable us to deliver the curriculum more effectively in a building which we can enjoy. We very much look forward to the new half term.”
The opening of the schools will come just two weeks after Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council was given the green light to increase education for 16-19-year-olds with the creation of over 500 places at Eston Park School, Gillbrook College and Nunthorpe from September, 2008.
Headteacher of Gillbrook College John Anthony added: “As we move into a new successful future for Gillbrook College, our fantastic new building represents a resource that will enable us to continue to develop an excellent learning culture in which our students can excel and achieve their personal goals. The recent confirmation of our post-16 status and the imminent construction of the collaborative post-16 centre will offer increased and accessible educational choice to students on their doorstep.”
The students will be spending their first week being inducted into a range of new processes and facilities within the building. Formal openings of the building will take place at a later date.