Hemel Hempstead, 10 December 2015 - Withernsea High School in East Yorkshire hosted an official turf cutting ceremony today to mark the start of the construction work to replace its old dilapidated school building.
The school is one of nine projects in the region to get underway as part of the government’s £2.4 billion Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) to rebuild or refurbish 260 of the schools in England in the worst condition.
Thanks to the PSBP, pupils attending the school are set to benefit from an £13 million, fit-for-purpose rebuild. The new site will include a new three floor school block and refurbish part of the existing building, allowing the school to take up to 1,000 pupils including 150 students in the sixth form.
Schools Minister David Laws said: ‘The start of construction work at Withernsea High School marks a key milestone for the Priority School Building Programme in East Yorkshire and an exciting phase in the development of the school. Delivering great new schools will help to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that every young person across the region can get on in life. Vital building work is taking place at schools in the worst state across the country. We are making excellent progress with 14 school buildings now open.’
Excited students and staff from the school were joined by the Town Mayor, council dignitaries, representatives from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and the contractor, BAM Construction, for a turf cutting ceremony to celebrate the start of work.
Richard Williman, Headteacher, Withernsea High School, said: ‘Having worked so closely with the EFA, BAM and the Local Authority on the planning of our new school, seeing the cutting of the first turf is a really exciting day. This development will have such a profound impact on the whole Withernsea community that today has even greater significance. We look forward to seeing the building evolve over the next 18 months.’
Paul Cleminson, Project Director for BAM Construction, said: ‘We understand how much these facilities mean to the community in Withernsea, as well as to the school itself. We’ll be making every effort during the build to make sure the broader community knows what’s going on, and also benefits economically and socially from the work we are doing here. From our considerable experience in this sector we know that a new school is a very significant thing for a community and we appreciate that our approach to building it has to be as professional as the technicalities of the construction. We’re looking forward to getting involved and making a rapid start.’
The school’s new building is due for completion by August 2015, and the full site is expected to be completed by June 2016. In total nine schools will be rebuild or refurbish under the PSBP in the Hull and East Riding area. Withernsea High School is one of four projects being rebuilt or refurbished by BAM Construction across the region.
The Government is determined to raise the standard of schools and the education they provide as part of its plan for education. The PSBP is building on the progress already made in delivering a more efficient, faster, less bureaucratic approach to building schools.
As of December 2014, 14 PSBP schools have now opened in new buildings, 59 schools are currently under construction and all 260 schools are due for completion by the end of 2017 - two years earlier than originally planned.
Given the success of the PSBP, the Government has announced a second phase of the programme, worth around £2 billion. Applications are currently being considered and successful applicants will be confirmed by the end of the year.