Press release: West Midlands school rebuild: from Victorian era to 21st century

Pupils at a Staffordshire school who swapped their Victorian-era building for a modern replacement thanks to a government rebuilding programme are holding an official reopening ceremony today (21 September 2015).

Moorgate Primary Academy is the first of 8 schools to reopen in the West Midlands 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 £3.6 million worth of construction, the school’s old buildings have been replaced with a 2-storey building with bright new classrooms and modern features, including an energy-efficient automatic ventilation system. A dance studio is also included, which will be available to the public.

Schools Minister Lord Nash said:

Through the priority school building programme we are investing in school buildings across the country to transform the learning environment for tens of thousands of pupils and their teachers while delivering value for money for the taxpayer.

The reopening of Moorgate Primary Academy marks a key milestone for the programme in the West Midlands, and these new school buildings will provide modern, fit-for-purpose facilities for pupils and staff for many years to come.

As part of this government’s commitment to social justice, we want all children, regardless of background, to learn in high-quality schools which will give them the best possible chance to unlock their potential.

Jonathan Williams, Headteacher of Moorgate Primary Academy, said:

We are delighted with our new building, which is a modern 21st century facility, and different in every way from our old Victorian building. We now have all sorts of mod cons, from an automatic mechanical ventilation system to a school bell beeper system, and the children were able to see the construction work from the playground of the old school, which was very exciting and involving for them.

Since we moved into the new building, everyone – the pupils, the staff and the parents – have just been walking a bit taller. We are all extremely proud.

The construction team working on the school created a building which was modern but also in keeping with the conservation area in Tamworth. They also overcame the engineering challenges of building near the west coast mainline railway.

Simon Butler, Interserve Divisional Director said:

We are delighted to have been involved in delivering this excellent new facility for Moorgate Primary Academy and hope that the value added solutions we have provided will not only benefit the students that use it but also have a lasting effect on the wider community.

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 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, significant work on those projects is already underway. In September, 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.
  2. 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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