Tarleton Academy and Lytham St Annes High schools to be demolished after new modern schools are built on site
Three Lancashire schools whose buildings have been ranked with schools "in the worst condition across England" have been selected for a Government school rebuilding and refurbishment programme.
Tarleton Academy, Lytham St Annes High School and Whitworth Community High School, near Rochdale are among the first 50 in the country to benefit from the Government's School Rebuilding Programme which is designed to create energy efficient modern schools.
Some of the 50 are known to have been built using the Laingspan or Intergrid building construction systems which will need replacing due to "potential structural weaknesses".
The Department for Education noted: "The Laingspan and Intergrid are two types of system buildings used to construct schools in the post-war period, which are reaching the end of their design life and have potential structural weaknesses that mean they should not be retained beyond that."
At Tarleton Academy the school is to be knocked down and a replacement state of the art school will be built on a new site within its grounds.
Parents were told of the news in a letter from Mrs Lesley Gwinnett. Mrs Gwinnett who became headteacher 10 years ago is also Chief Executive Officer of the Endeavour Learning Trust.
Mrs Gwinnett said: "We are so pleased that in the next few years our students and staff will have access to modern, state-of-the-art facilities. Current plans will retain our existing sports hall, but we are looking forward to a brand new swimming pool."
She continued: "The new school will be set much further back on the site, around where the existing sports hall is situated. We are taking seriously the impact on our neighbours and careful planning will ensure that the new build will be an improvement for everyone in the village and surrounding areas."
Mrs Gwinnett told parents: "The criteria used to decide on which schools to be prioritised were that:• they have buildings of specific construction types that require replacement• their buildings have the highest condition need."
She continued: "Obviously, we take our role as a centre for the community very seriously and these new facilities will also enable us to provide improved opportunities for all our primary partners along with a continued and ever developing out of hours’community provision."
Tarleton High has had extensive refurbishment in the last decade, including a new suite of science labs and a new food technology room, much re-decoration and new furnishings.
Mrs Gwinnett said:" We always maintained that it is our students and staff who really make the place shine, and that remains the case. Nonetheless, we have always tried our hardest to make the best of the buildings we have."
Graham Pilkington ,Chair of the local Academy Council said: “It is great news that the school will get the improved quality of buildings to enable the staff and students within the school to continue to flourish and thrive. Tarleton’s Academy Council look forward to working with the school and Trust to help in the smooth delivery of this very exciting development."
He said he and Helen Ducker, chair of the trustees.would "continue to be heavily involved in the detailed planning of the new school, mindful of our neighbours and the needs of our curriculum provision."
Katherine Fletcher MP for South Ribble, has also welcomed the Government’s announcement. She said: “This is fantastic news for Tarleton Academy. They have hugely exciting plans and a real passion and commitment to providing outstanding education in a warm and welcoming environment. I’m so pleased to see that it's brilliant staff and students will have access to brand new facilities which when built, will also give opportunities for the wider community."
Meanwhile at Lytham St Annes High headteacher Mr Ray Baker said: "It's wonderful. We're really pleased. I think everyone will be as excited as we are. We are a very popular successful school...It will be nice to have a building that matches it and our local families deserve it. It will be a wonderful site - a campus. We'll still retain four other buildings. Disruption will be minimal."
Those buildings retained will include the science block, performing arts block and the recently opened design technology block.
There are 1500 pupils at the school and classes will continue in the existing building while the new main school is built on the site. Mr Baker said some of the existing school buildings date from the 1950s, noting: "The school has had elements of Langspain within its construction.The buildings are old. We do what we can to make them pleasant and they're obviously safe. "
The new design technology block had replaced a previous Langspain building.
He stressed that it was a case of future planning - the site is regularly surveyed and it was known the buildings would need replacing at some stage, but not immediately.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that in the first phase of the School Rebuilding Programme there will be 50 rebuilds and 21 new free schools. He said: "The rebuilding projects are just the start of our major ten-year programme, transforming hundreds of schools and improving the education of tens of thousands of children. Alongside this, over 15,500 children will now benefit from 21 new free schools across the country as we look to build back better after the pandemic."
There is a £1bn fund to support the first 50 rebuilds. In addition more than £10 million is to be invested to support school sports and swimming facilities in England, distributed through Sport England
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