Four Wigan schools will be rebuilt as part of £1billion project

Four Wigan schools are set to be rebuilt in the first wave a £1billion national scheme announced by the Government.
St John Fisher Catholic High SchoolSt John Fisher Catholic High School
St John Fisher Catholic High School

St John Fisher Catholic High School, The Byrchall High School, Fred Longworth High School and St Thomas’ CE Primary School, Leigh, are among 50 schools named in the project to transform education for thousands of pupils.

They will benefit from new, modern, energy-efficient school buildings through the Prime Minister’s 10-year rebuilding programme to level up opportunities for all.

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The first 50 projects announced today are supported by £1billion in funding and mark the start of the School Rebuilding Programme, which is due to deliver 500 rebuilding projects over the next decade.

The initial rebuilds and refurbishments will create modern education environments, providing new facilities from classrooms and science labs, to sports halls and dining rooms. The schools will also be greener, helping meet the Government’s net zero target.

Alison Rigby, headteacher of St John Fisher Catholic High School, said: "We cannot express our sheer delight that our young people will have access to modern, state-of-the-art facilities in the future. We all know buildings don’t educate children, people do, but the environment in which children learn and are encouraged to grow is vital in producing decent human beings.

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"It is great that our school has been identified for this investment. We have a unique sporting heritage – we have produced international rugby league, rugby Union and netball players and athletes - despite our modest sporting facilities!

"This new-build project will boost our curriculum offer and provide fantastic facilities in which our learning community will continue to flourish, and, most importantly, build confidence in our young people because they will feel valued and invested in and – ultimately - loved."

Alex Gallimore, director of business and finance at Fred Longworth High School, said: "This is fantastic news for the school and will enable us to provide the modern, state-of-the-art facilities that our students and staff deserve.

"A lot of hard work and planning has taken place over the past two years to put the school in a position to replace our building stock, most of which are mid-sixties ‘Intergrid’ style blocks.

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"We are currently well under way with a £3.3m project to replace the maths and humanities block following a successful bid for funding early last year and now we can confirm that we are receiving additional funding to replace the remaining buildings.

"Great things already happen here at Fred Longworth and this next phase of rebuilding will complete our property strategy to create a modern, efficient and engaging learning environment to enable us to raise the bar even higher. It’s certainly going to be an exciting few years at Freddie’s as we see the new school develop."

There are also plans for 21 new free schools, the Government has confirmed today, with 10 opening in some of the most deprived areas.

More than £10m will be invested to support school sports and swimming facilities in England and will be distributed through Sport England. This targeted investment to selected schools will build on existing funding to help schools open their facilities outside school hours and encourage pupils to be more physically active.

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Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "Today we are launching the first phase of our ambitious new schools programme, with 50 rebuilds and 21 new free schools.

"The rebuilding projects are just the start of our major 10-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.

"I am determined to get all children back into education as soon as possible and will make sure we do not let the pandemic stand in the way of giving every young person the opportunity to succeed, progress and fulfil their potential."

Project planning for the 50 rebuilds is already advanced on a number of schools following site visits last year, so construction can begin on the first projects from autumn 2021.

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The programme will help create jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities across England, with suppliers offering training and apprenticeships as part of their work on the rebuilds.

The majority of the first 50 rebuild projects under the programme are expected to be completed within three to five years.

Further details about the School Rebuilding Programme will be set out later in 2021, including how evidence about schools’ condition needs can be provided to support prioritisation for future rounds of the programme.

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