New school building takes a step forward

Left to right: James Stuart-Mills, Tim Goodwin and Jim Cockburn. Photo courtesy of Samuel Hood, 16 (under the Hood Photography).
Left to right: James Stuart-Mills, Tim Goodwin and Jim Cockburn. Photo courtesy of Samuel Hood, 16 (under the Hood Photography).

Plans for a new school in Longbenton have taken a major step forward.

Officials at Longbenton Community College were on hand to sign the Memorandum of Understanding for a new school to be built to replace the existing building, which is approaching its diamond jubilee in 2014.

The new school is scheduled to open in September 2016 with construction work starting in 2015.

Tim Goodwin, chairman of governors, signed the document on behalf of the school, watched on by principal Jim Cockburn.

He said: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding cements our relationship with the government’s Education Funding Agency.

“It opens the way for the provision of a state-of-the art school for the young people of Longbenton.

“It is a fitting prelude to the school’s diamond jubilee celebrations, with the cutting of the first sod in January 2015 providing a suitable conclusion to those celebrations.”

Detailed planning and design work will take place over the next few months as the school works with government officers and architects in bringing forward the project to final completion.

Mr Cockburn said: “This is an exciting day for us all as we officially sign up to the government’s plans to provide a modern, high specification building that will transform the educational experience for the young people in our community.

“We have been working towards this for quite some time, and so it is wonderful for all involved eventually to reach this point.”

James Stuart-Mills, project director of the Education Funding Agency, the government body which will oversee the procurement and construction process, said: “Longbenton Community College has been identified as a school which is in need of renewal under the Priority Build Scheme and I am delighted that all parties have reached this point in the process.

“We are looking forward to a close working relationship with both staff and pupils to ensure that the school meets the needs of everyone.”