Press release: Priority school building programme: Essex special school reopens

A special school in Essex given a spacious new building through the government’s flagship rebuilding programme is officially reopening today (2 October 2015).

Edith Borthwick School, an all-age school in Essex, 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 £9.1 million worth of construction, the school’s old buildings have been replaced with a new 2-storey facility which includes break-out rooms, spacious hall space and external areas for each of the ground floor classrooms.

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 Edith Borthwick 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.

Ian Boatman, Headteacher of Edith Borthwick School, said:

We are delighted to take delivery of our superb new school, built by Wates Construction under the priority school building programme. The building offers us high-quality accommodation, with a wide range of spacious and inspiring learning spaces.

We are now well placed to meet locally-based special educational needs (SEN), and have a school fit for the future.

Ian Vickers of Wates Construction said:

Utilising our extensive education expertise, Wates Construction has worked in close partnership with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and the school to gain a deep understanding of the special educational needs of the students, the result of which is an exceptional building that will complement the high-quality one-on-one care that the school provides.

Our completion and handover of the new school marks the conclusion of a very rewarding project and we look forward to seeing Edith Borthwick School continue to provide a platform for educational success for generations to come.

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, significant work on those projects is already underway. In September, 22 buildings re-opened through PSBP thanks to £160 million of construction work, and the total number to have been re-opened through the first phase of PSBP is now 49.
  3. In May 2014 the government announced a further £2 billion for the second phase of the programme. We published a list of the 277 schools to benefit from the second phase of the PSBP on 9 February 2015.

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