A Durham primary school given a state-of-the-art new building through the government’s flagship rebuilding programme is officially re-opening today (25 September 2015).
West Cornforth Primary School is 1 of 31 schools in the North East to be rebuilt through the £4.4 billion priority school building programme (PSBP), which is transforming some of the most run-down schools in the country.
As a result of £3.3 million worth of construction, the school’s old buildings have been replaced with a modern single-storey building which sits in the centre of 6 acres of land. The new building has a multi-purpose hall, a new IT suite and light, spacious classrooms with access to outdoor teaching areas.
Schools Minister Lord Nash said:
Our investment in school buildings across the country is transforming the learning environment for tens of thousands of pupils and their teachers.
The re-opening of West Cornforth Primary School is a key milestone for the priority school building programme in the North East.
Ensuring all children have access to the best possible schools and facilities is just 1 part of our commitment to help all young people reach their potential regardless of their background. These buildings will provide modern, fit-for-purpose schools for pupils for many years to come.
During the re-opening ceremony, pupils and staff will be joined by a former pupil of West Cornforth, businessman Sir Moir Lockhead, who will perform the official re-opening.
Janet Sarsfield, Headteacher of West Cornforth Primary School, said:
One year on from the closing of the old school, the pupils, staff and governing body are delighted with their new school building. The building is a bright, warm and inviting learning environment that meets the educational needs of all our pupils.
Many of the spacious facilities, such as a high-spec wifi and IT system, hygiene room, food room, classrooms with independent access to the outdoor learning environment and additional spaces for working, are far more suitable to inspire, motivate and encourage our pupils to learn than what we had before.
We have a very happy and successful school community working in this wonderful building. All staff, governors and parent/carers work collaboratively and harmoniously together, to ensure our children receive a good start in life.
Ernie Hurrell, Chair of Governors of West Cornforth Primary School, said:
We have waited a long time for this to happen and now our hopes for a replacement school fit for the 21st century have been realised.
Thanks to the PSBP, school buildings are being rebuilt faster and cheaper than those built under the previous school building initiative - Building Schools for the Future (BSF). Under the BSF it took 3 years for construction work to begin. This was slashed to 1 year for the PSBP, with projects costing around a third less.
A total of 537 schools will benefit from construction through the 2 phases of the PSBP.
Notes to editors
- The PSBP was established in 2011. A total of 260 schools have successfully applied for refurbishment work through the first phase of the programme.
- Thanks to decisions which have been taken to improve efficiency and reduce waste in central school building programmes, significant work on those projects is already underway. In September 2015, 22 buildings are re-opening through PSBP thanks to £160 million of construction work, bringing the total number to have been re-opened through the first phase of PSBP to 49.
- As of the end of August, we have 173 schools for which construction contracts have been signed (including the contracts for privately financed schools and the 49 schools open); and we are working with all the schools in the programme.
- In May 2014 the government announced a further £2 billion for the second phase of the programme. A list of the 277 schools to benefit from the second phase of the PSBP was published on 9 February 2015.