Kind-hearted staff and pupils at a Suffolk academy, who donated their old furniture to an African school, today (27 November 2015) celebrated their move into a modern new building through the government’s flagship rebuilding programme.
Chantry Academy is 1 of 7 schools across the East of England to be rebuilt through the first phase of 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 a £14.3 million investment, the academy’s existing buildings have been replaced with a new 3-storey building which provides light, bright classrooms, a superb hall, a drama space and excellent sports facilities.
Ahead of its move into the new building, the school donated its old furniture, including desks, chairs, filing cabinets and bookshelves, to Sanchaba School in Gambia.
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 Chantry Academy is a key milestone for the priority school building programme in the East of England.
Ensuring all children have access to the best possible schools and facilities is just one 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.
Craig D’Cunha, Principal of Chantry Academy, said:
I am extremely excited, alongside staff and students at Chantry Academy, to celebrate our official opening.
Over the course of the last 9 months we have seen some exceptional progress take place at the academy. Student attainment has improved, and there is a new sense of purpose at the school. Our official opening is a great way to celebrate this progress as well as looking forward to the future and our continued improvement.
The new building represents the importance the community places on the futures of the children of Chantry, not only for those who attend the school now, but for the thousands who will pass through its doors in the future. It’s an outstanding building which has already inspired our students to exceed their own aspirations. It will help us ensure the children of Chantry stand out amongst their peers.
Gary Peile, Chief Executive of the Active Learning Trust, which sponsors Chantry Academy, said:
Craig and his team have done a fantastic job of embedding a sense of best practice and continuous improvement at Chantry Academy in a very short space of time, even before the school has been officially opened.
This is a sign of the great things to come at Chantry Academy, and I look forward to supporting Craig and the school on their journey towards becoming an ‘outstanding’ school.
Ian Gifford, Operations Director of Kier, said:
Kier is delighted to have completed the construction of Chantry Academy, procured through the EFA contractors framework. We have provided the school with new state-of-the-art facilities which will serve students in Ipswich well into the future.
Work on the main building at Chantry Academy was completed in August, and the school was officially reopened by Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, and Baroness Scott of Needham Market.
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 priority school building programme was established in 2011. A total of 260 schools will have their condition needs addressed through the first phase of the programme.
- Thanks to decisions that have been taken to improve efficiency and reduce waste, significant work on those projects is already underway. In November, 11 buildings reopened through PSBP thanks to almost £100 million of construction work, bringing the total number to have been reopened through the first phase of PSBP to 60.
- As of November, construction contracts have been signed for 187 schools and all other schools are at various stages of design development.
- 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.