A special educational needs school in Watford, rebuilt as part of the coalition government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), had its official opening ceremony today (23 September 2014).
Pupils and teachers at Garston Manor School have had their dilapidated school building completely renovated as part of the £2.4 billion programme to rebuild 261 of the schools in England in the worst condition.
The school caters for up to 124 secondary aged boys and girls (11 to 16 year olds) with special educational needs, including:
- learning difficulties
- autism or speech
- language related needs
Thanks to the programme, pupils attending the school are now benefiting from a new £5 million, single story, fit-for-purpose rebuild comprising of new classrooms and a dining area and hall, as well as new internal and external spaces to aid learning and support the students’ individual needs.
Schools Minister David Laws said:
The official opening today of Garston Manor School is a fantastic achievement.
Delivering great new schools will help to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that every young person in Watford 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 today to mark the official opening of the school. The rebuild was completed in just 11 months. This was all made possible by a successful partnership between the school, Hertfordshire County Council, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and the contractor, Wates Construction.
John Singh, the Chair of Governors at Garston Manor, said:
The community that Garston Manor serves have every reason to be delighted with their new school. The staff and pupils now have an excellent teaching and learning environment designed and built to meet the particular needs of the very special children that the school serves. There is little doubt that the spacious new building and the opportunities it offers will contribute significantly to the progress that they, the pupils, will make both educationally and socially.
Phil Shortman, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction, Northern Home Counties and East, said:
Today’s event sees the culmination of our successful partnership with Garston Manor School, Watford Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council and the EFA - the results of which can clearly be seen in this impressive new building. Our site team led by Larry and Lyndon have found it immensely rewarding to be involved in a project that will improve and enhance the learning experiences of the students - I wish school staff and students every success in their new home.
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.
In total, 6 new PSBP schools are now open, 42 schools are currently under construction and design work has begun at 257 schools. All schools will be delivered 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.