Press release: School rebuilds: reopening celebrated after £15.3 million work

The first secondary school in England to be reopened under the government’s flagship school rebuilding programme is holding its official reopening ceremony today (23 June).

Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy’s existing buildings have been replaced with brand new classrooms, a 4-court sports hall, an activity studio and drama space. The rebuild is part of the government’s £4.4 billion priority school building programme (PSBP) to address 537 of the schools in England in the worst condition.

The academy is 1 of 31 schools across the North East of England to benefit from the PSBP.

Thanks to the programme, £15.3 million has been spent completely renovating the school site, ensuring generations of pupils will have access to the best possible facilities for learning. The 1,200-place academy is also the first secondary school opened under PSBP.

Schools Minister Lord Nash said:

As part of our long-term economic plan we are investing in school buildings across the country, so we can transform the learning environment for tens of thousands of pupils and their teachers.

The start of construction work at Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy marks a key milestone for the priority school building programme in the North East of England.

As part of this government’s commitment to help young people reach their potential, we want all children to have access to the best possible schools and to learn in an environment that gives them the knowledge and skills to succeed in modern Britain. These new school buildings will provide modern, fit-for-purpose facilities for pupils and staff for many years to come.

The Venerable Stuart Bain, Archdeacon of Sunderland, Chair of the Durham Diocesan Board of Education and Chair of the Dayspring Trust, said:

I know that the board are thrilled to see the new building opened and blessed by Bishop Mark, another step in Ian Ramsey’s development as a great diocesan school.

Executive Headteacher Gill Booth said:

Today marks a special occasion for the students, staff, governors and stakeholders of Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy. The young people of today deserve to have the best facilities in which to grow and develop; this new building offers our young people a chance to flourish and learn within the best facilities that the 21st century can offer.

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 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.

Notes to editors

  1. The priority school building programme was established in 2011 to address the needs of those schools in across the country in need of repair.
  2. The list of 261 successful schools under the first phase of the programme was announced in May 2012. This has since been revised to 260 school projects, after St Philip Howard Catholic Primary School in Kent was closed due to insufficient pupil demand in the local area.
  3. 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. As of 5 June 2015, we:
    • have 25 schools open in new buildings
    • have 138 schools for which construction contracts have been signed (including the contracts for private finance schools 25 schools open)
    • are working with all the schools in the programme
  4. The programme also hit the public commitment to open 24 schools before the general election.
  5. 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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