IN PICTURES: Groundbreaking ceremony for new Wigan school

The Mayor of Wigan Coun Marie Morgan met pupils, staff and delegates as she was invited to put the first spade in the ground at a ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction of a high-tech new version of The Byrchall High School in Ashton.

The site will open in autumn 2024, boasting outdoor cinema spaces, a science and technology “learning environment” and multi-use sports facilities.

The 1960s-built establishment in Ashton was one of four schools in Wigan that received a portion of the Department for Education’s £1bn School Rebuilding Programme.

And it is one of 50 new “eco and self-sustainable schools” to be built in the UK over the next three years.

The Warrington Road-based school has 1,200 pupils in a space that “is no longer fit for purpose”, according to a planning statement.

The school will remain operational as building work is done, with development in phases.

The new building is on land in front of the current school. When the existing premises – bar one block and the sports hall which is shared with the community and so is being retained – have been demolished a new 4G all-weather sports pitch for hockey will be installed on the site.

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