Young and old came together to mark the official opening of a new £6.45m primary school campus.
The Longbenton Voluntary Aided Schools campus houses two schools – St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Primary School and St Bartholomew’s Church of England Primary School.
Children and staff from both joined together for the official opening ceremony which was performed by Bishop Frank White, Assistant Bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Newcastle, and Bishop Seamus Cunningham, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.
The event included the unveiling of two special commemorative plaques at each school, and performances by the school choirs.
The state-of-the-art campus is on Goathland Avenue – on the former site of Goathland Primary School – and the schools opened for learning in September.
Facilities include modern classrooms, a community learning centre and extensive outdoor facilities.
The schools share some areas including the main hall, dining hall, computing suite, staff room, playing fields, community building and an outdoor multi-use games area.
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “This impressive primary campus is a real first for North Tyneside.
“We have created two fantastic new primary schools in one cutting-edge building and extensive outdoor facilities.
“These fantastic facilities will encourage and support our children’s learning and enable our teachers to deliver the first class educational opportunities our children deserve.”
Richard Restall, headteacher at St Bartholomew’s Church of England Primary School, said: “It is a real privilege to be in such an exciting place.
“The children love the new building and very quickly made it their own.
“It provides a unique opportunity for our both school communities to work alongside and support each other in delivering a great learning experience, set firmly within a Christian context.
“We are looking forward to building on our school’s long heritage and equipping our young people for their 21st Century future.”
Stephen Fallon, headteacher at St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Primary School, added: “We are absolutely thrilled with our new setting.
“The configuration of the learning spaces provides great flexibility and maximises opportunities for creating high quality learning experiences.
“The unique design and shared facilities are allowing us to explore a wider range of collaborative working practices with our colleagues at St Bartholomew’s.
“It’s all extremely exciting for everyone connected to our school communities.
“I am grateful to the design teams and everyone involved in the construction who worked so hard in providing this wonderful place of learning.”
The work was funded by North Tyneside Council as part of its Primary Capital Investment Programme, with contributions from the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and the Newcastle Education Board.
The building project was delivered by Kier North East and the scheme was designed by Space Architects and Kier North Tyneside.
Noel Carson, project manager at Kier Construction, said: “This has been a really innovative project to create these two high quality schools housed under one roof.
“Getting them both on one site was a challenge but there will be a great benefit of shared efficiencies and savings for both schools.
“It was an exciting project and one that we were delighted to be involved in.”