Press release: Suffolk pupils open outstanding new school after rebuild

Pupils and staff at a Suffolk secondary school have celebrated the official opening of their brand-new building, thanks to the government’s flagship rebuilding programme.

Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard is 1 of 9 schools in the east of England 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 £19.2 million worth of construction, the school’s old buildings have been replaced with a modern 4-storey facility featuring bright classrooms, a modern drama area and fourth-floor art rooms with inspiring views of the surrounding landscape.

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 reopening of Thomas Gainsborough School 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.

Wayne Lloyd, Headteacher of Thomas Gainsborough School, said:

The staff, governors and most importantly the students are delighted with the new Thomas Gainsborough School building. The building is light, spacious and airy. The design has placed the students’ needs at the heart of the space. It is accessible and comfortable, and has the feel of a college or university environment that suggests a school that invests in its learners.

It will support in building respect and excitement for learning, and the whole community in our part of Suffolk can feel that they now have a building that will provide an outstanding school environment for many years to come.

Ian Gifford, Operations Director of Kier, said:

Kier Construction Eastern is very proud to have delivered Thomas Gainsborough School, procured through the Education Funding Agency contractors framework on a design and build basis. This important project adds to our impressive track record of education sector projects in the region.

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

  1. 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.
  2. Thanks to decisions that have been taken to improve efficiency and reduce waste, significant work on those projects is already underway. As of October 2015, 49 school buildings are open and, in total, 177 construction contracts have been signed. All other projects within the programme are in the design or planning stages.
  3. 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.

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