St Thomas More Roman Catholic Primary School in Coventry had its official re-opening ceremony last week (7 November 2014), as pupils and staff moved into their brand new building.
The school’s existing dilapidated building has been completely rebuilt as part of the government’s £2.4 billion Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) to address 261 of the schools in England in the worst condition.
St Thomas More is 1 of 7 projects underway across the city, and the second school in Coventry to open as part of the PSBP. It joins Whitmore Park Primary school, which opened in April this year.
Thanks to the PSBP, the 420 pupils attending the school will now benefit from a new £4 million, 2-storey, fit-for-purpose rebuild comprising:
- dining area
- main hall
- state-of-the-art kitchen facilities
- library resource centre
- a new nursery that has secure and direct access to its own soft and hard play areas
Schools Minister David Laws said:
The official opening of St Thomas More Roman Catholic Primary School is a fantastic achievement, the second school in Coventry to open as part of the Priority School Building Programme and 1 of 14 across the country that are now complete.
Delivering great new schools will help to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that every young person in Coventry can get on in life. Vital building work is taking place at schools in the worst state across the country.
I hope the new school facilities will provide an inspirational learning environment that will encourage every student to reach their full potential.
An event was held to mark the official opening of the school, the rebuild of which was completed in just 23 months. This was all made possible by a successful partnership between the school, Coventry City Council, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and the contractor, Wates Construction.
Jim Colby, Chair of governors at St Thomas More Roman Catholic School, said:
St Thomas More Roman Catholic community has every reason to be delighted with their new school. We thank the Lord for all the blessings that have been bestowed on us all as we look forward to continuing the vision with Christ at the centre in our new building where, for the first time, the whole school community will be under one roof. The staff and pupils now have an excellent teaching and learning environment designed and built to meet the needs of the children and community. We now begin a new story, meeting new challenges and creating new memories for everybody who enters to fulfil our vision to ‘learn and grow as God’s holy people’.
Richard Scarrott, Operations Director, Wates Construction, commented:
The EFA’s Priority School Building Programme is above all about creating amazing spaces to allow young people to be creative, learn and flourish but this comes with the added need to keep a keen eye on the speed of construction whilst ensuring value for money is delivered.
I am very proud to say that the Coventry batch of the Priority School Building Programme is an exemplar model of how to strike this balance and the opening of these fantastic new schools brings to fruition an excellent partnership approach between Wates, the EFA, Coventry Council and of course, the schools.
The government is determined to raise the standard of schools and the education they provide as part of its plan for education. The PSBP is building on the progress already made in delivering a more efficient, faster, less bureaucratic approach to building schools.
As of November 2014:
- 14 PSBP schools have opened in new buildings
- 59 schools are currently under construction
- all 261 schools are due for completion by the end of 2017 - 2 years earlier than originally planned
Given the success of the PSBP, the government has announced a second phase of the programme, worth around £2 billion. Applications are currently being considered and successful applicants will be confirmed by the end of the year.
Notes to editors
- The PSBP is a centrally managed programme set up to address the condition of the schools most in need of urgent repair. Through the PSBP, 261 schools will be rebuilt or have their condition needs met.
- Over the course of this parliament, the government is allocating £5 billion to local authorities to support the provision of new school places and £2.8 billion for the maintenance of the school estate to meet the needs of maintained schools and academies. Over the spending review period, the total capital made available for investment in schools in England will be about £18 billion.
- Given the success of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) so far, in May the government announced a further £2 billion to address condition needs in some of the worst school buildings across the country. Applications are currently being considered and successful applicants will be confirmed by the end of the year.