Press release: Thousands of pupils start 2016 in new buildings

Pupils across the country are being given a fresh start for 2016 as they return to state-of-the-art new school buildings funded through the government’s flagship rebuilding programme.

Thirteen schools from the south west to the north east of England are set to start the new year in modern buildings thanks to the £4.4 billion priority school building programme (PSBP).

By transforming some of the most run-down schools in the country, the PSBP is helping young people unlock their potential and delivering on the government’s commitment to educational excellence everywhere.

The latest schools will open following over £100 million of construction, with features including bright new classrooms, inspiring libraries and specialist arts facilities.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

The priority school building programme is allowing young people across the country to be taught in facilities fit for the 21st century, giving them the best possible chance to fulfil their potential.

I am delighted to see this latest group of schools re-opening in outstanding new buildings – the staff, pupils and local community could not ask for a better start to the year.

As the programme continues, I look forward to seeing even more schools reopening in modern buildings as we continue to deliver educational excellence everywhere.

Camberwell Park School, a special school in Manchester, is one of those to reopen through the programme following £7 million of construction.

The school, which previously suffered regular leaks and was persistently in need of repair, now has bigger, brighter classrooms, a modern music and drama room and a library which looks onto the school’s rainforest garden.

Camberwell Park School Headteacher Mary Isherwood said:

As headteacher of Camberwell Park School I am proud and delighted that we have been part of the priority school building programme. Since we heard news of our new building, we have been fully involved in the planning and preparation of the building to ensure that it meets the holistic needs of our pupils who all have special educational needs.

Throughout the process staff, pupils, parents and carers, governors and members of the multi-agency team have shared their hopes, wishes, dreams for the new building, helping us to shape the vision. The new building is fabulous.

The Grove School, a primary in Devon, received its new building following £4 million of work, giving it not only outstanding new facilities but also increasing its capacity from 210 to 315 pupils.

Headteacher of The Grove School, Hilary Priest, said:

Everything is different about our new school building. Previously, we had a building which was falling apart, with leaking roofs and buckets everywhere to collect the water. Now we have a beautiful new facility designed for education today, with lovely large classrooms and state-of-the-art technology. Best of all, although the new building is completely different, it still feels like our old school.

The staff and pupils love the new building – we have had so many ‘wows’ and many amazingly positive comments from parents.

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 which have been taken to improve efficiency and reduce waste, we are seeing school building delivered quicker and for up to 35% less than under the previous Building Schools for the Future programme.
  3. To date we have signed construction contracts for 196 schools and the remaining projects are all in the design or planning stages.
  4. 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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