Press release: Two Liverpool special schools open in new multi-million building

Two special schools re-opened in a new multi-million pound building today (24 September 2015), paid for under a government scheme.

Bank View and Redbridge High Schools in Liverpool have moved into a linked building with some shared facilities 1 mile from their old home.

Both of them have increased their capacity – with Bank View going from 120 to 150 pupil places and Redbridge from 90 to 120 pupil places.

The building is home to 2 of the 40 schools being rebuilt across the North West under the government’s priority school building programme (PSPB), worth £4.4 billion, which will address the needs of 537 schools in England in the worst condition.

The Department for Education funded the rebuilding of Redbridge, while Liverpool city council paid for Bank View High School.

Redbridge High School has specialist facilities including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms, a soft play area and a therapy room.

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 opening of Bank View and Redbridge High Schools in Liverpool is a key milestone for the priority school building programme in the North West.

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.

Bank View caters for pupils with autism and moderate learning difficulties while Redbridge is for those with severe learning difficulties, and profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Paul Cronin, headteacher of Redbridge High School, said:

We are all absolutely delighted that the new school project has now come to fruition.

Staff and governors are thrilled to able to provide our pupils with state of the art facilities they need and deserve to enhance their learning experiences even further.

The pupils themselves have adapted immediately to the new facilities and take great delight in welcoming visitors and showing off the new building.

Juliette Gelling, headteacher of Bank View School, said:

Everyone at Bank View School is delighted with the new building. Each part of the school has been designed to meet the needs of our students and they are already benefiting from the new areas of school, such as the vocational and sensory rooms.

All the staff and pupils have settled well and we are all so proud of our new environment which promotes a calm and relaxing atmosphere in which pupils can progress socially and academically.

This is an exciting time in Bank View’s life and we very much look forward to watching our students flourish and move successfully on to the next stage of their lives.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:

We have to make sure that the children with the most needs get the best teaching in quality buildings. We are responding to the increase in demand for places by replacing old and worn out facilities with better quality buildings. The investment at Redbridge and Bank View enables staff to teach pupils the full curriculum, which is hugely important in making sure they achieve their full potential.

Anthony Dillon, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon, said:

We are delighted to have completed Bankview and Redbridge.

Not only do we have schools that are fit for 21st century learning, we have maximised their economic impact in terms of jobs and local spend throughout the construction period.

Improving the standard of school buildings so that pupils learn in high quality classrooms and teachers have access to the best facilities is a vital part of the government’s plan for education.

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.

On 9 February 2015 the government announced details of the second phase of the PSBP, worth around £2 billion, which will see a further 277 school buildings rebuilt or refurbished, bringing the total to 537 schools to benefit over the life of the programme.

Notes to editors

  1. The PSPB was established in 2011. A total of 260 schools have successfully applied for refurbishment work through the first phase of the programme.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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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