Laying foundations for future education

Children were the guests of honour at a special ceremony to mark the start of two new primary schools in Longbenton.

The youngsters were the VIPs at a turf cutting ceremony on Monday to mark the start of construction of the £6.6m Longbenton Voluntary Aided Schools campus.

The campus, being built on the former Goathland Primary School site, will accommodate St Stephen’s RC and St Bartholomew’s Church of England primary schools.

Both schools will retain their individual identities as well as their own registration, faith and ethos.

Coun Ian Grayson, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, helped the pupils cut the turf.

He said: “These two fantastic new schools will have bright, modern classrooms, a community building and extensive outdoor facilities.

“The children will get the best possible chance to learn and achieve their full potential while teachers will have the best possible environment in which to deliver the first class education opportunities our children deserve.”

Kier North East is delivering the project, and it is hoped the schools will be open by September next year.

Steve Lynn, Kier project manager, said: “We are delighted to be involved with this innovative project, which sees two high quality schools housed under one roof benefitting from shared efficiencies and savings.

“It is satisfying to get on site and make a start on what will be a fantastic facility.”