Work starts on new builds at two high schools

Pupils Daisy Rowe and Theo Riley, school staff Alison Jackson, Dave Marshall and Joan Bloomfield, Sam Judd from the Education Funding Agency and Mayor Norma Redfearn at the turf cutting ceremony at Marden High School. Picture by Jane Coltman
Pupils Daisy Rowe and Theo Riley, school staff Alison Jackson, Dave Marshall and Joan Bloomfield, Sam Judd from the Education Funding Agency and Mayor Norma Redfearn at the turf cutting ceremony at Marden High School. Picture by Jane Coltman

Work has begun on a £30m project to rebuild two high schools.

John Spence and Marden high schools are involved in the programme to transform three schools into 21st century buildings fit for modern use.

Mayor Norma Redfearn and year 7 pupils from John Spence Community High School celebrate the work on  the new school building. Picture by Jane Coltman

Mayor Norma Redfearn and year 7 pupils from John Spence Community High School celebrate the work on the new school building. Picture by Jane Coltman

Both are expected to be ready for use by April 2017.

Work is currently underway at Whitehouse Primary School, in North Shields, which is due for completion next April.

Ceremonies were held at both schools as the first turf was cut on the new buildings, with staff and pupils joined by governors, Mayor Norma Redfearn, the Education Funding Agency (EFA), and builder Sir Robert McAlpine.

Mrs Redfearn said: “This is a very exciting time for education in North Tyneside and I’m absolutely delighted that work is now underway on the construction of these fantastic new schools.

“Our children and young people work tremendously hard and they deserve only the very best learning opportunities in bright, modern buildings that will equip them for life and work in the 21st century.

“The plans have been approved, the workers are busy on the sites and the buildings are taking shape in front of our eyes.

“My special thanks go the schools, their Governing Bodies, the pupils and their parents for embracing these projects and ensuring their success..”

The schools are being built under the Government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).

At John Spence High School, £13m is being spent on building a new two-storey block as well as refurbishing the existing drama block. The recently-built community sports facility is also being refurbished.

Headteacher Jim Stephenson said: “The new building will provide a fantastic working environment for our students and staff, with state-of-the-art specialised science and technology facilities and new general purpose classrooms.

“John Spence is already an outstanding school. We continue to go from strength to strength and see the investment of millions of pounds in a new school building as yet another step forward for the school.”

Marden High School, built in 1958, will see £14.4m invested in a new three storey block on the existing playing fields, with a new playing field created.

Acting headteacher Alison Jackson said: “Although actual building work on our new school started several months ago this turf cutting ceremony officially recognises the launch of a new era for the school and its stakeholders.

“Thanks to the hard work and determination of our Governing Body over the last few years, Marden High School students and staff will have a brand new, state-of-the-art building at their disposal.

“There has never been a more exciting time in the school’s history and I am very proud to be part of it.”

John Roper, project director for Sir Robert McAlpine, added: “We are proud to be delivering these schools as part of the Education Funding Agency’s Priority Schools Building Programme.

“They will provide exciting opportunities for the local community in terms of improved education facilities and employment prospects and we look forward to the successful delivery of the schemes.”