Students to be taught outside at Wigan college under plans for rooftop classroom

Students are set to be taught outside as part of plans for a rooftop classroom at a sixth form college in Wigan.

A virtual reality room is also set to be built in the expansion plans for Winstanley College.

Wigan Council has approved the Billinge-based site’s plans for a two-storey building with nine classroom suites which will become the new STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teaching block.

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Artist sketch from inside new teaching block at Winstanley College.

This will contain the VR room and rooftop “solar array installation”. The outdoor “teaching space” will be located on the roof of the building “where students will be able to observe the buildings’ functioning engineering plant and equipment installations”.

Additionally there will be a single storey guidance hub with four coordinator consultation rooms, a flexible area with councillor welfare rooms, a quiet room and a sick room.

As one of the top performing colleges in the North West, Winstanley has become a well known educator in Wigan drawing students from secondary schools across the borough.

“Winstanley College has submitted a bid to the Department for Education for part-funding for a new STEM teaching block to meet rising demand for places at the college and we are delighted to be supported by Wigan Council in this,” Principal Louise Tipping said.

Winstanley College principal Louise Tipping

“The College has grown steadily in popularity over recent years and now has over 2,300 students. This is helped by its national reputation for academic success and for its aspirational approach to supporting young people from Wigan and indeed beyond to achieve their very best.”

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Demolition of part of the existing school is required to clear the site. However, according to the planning statement, the additional teaching capacity proposed will enable the college to expand from 2,070 to 2,300 students.

This is in line with the ONS projections for demographic growth at age 16 which will run to 13 per cent by 2026. The extension will be located next to the playing fields on the college site.

The planning statement outlines the playing fields will not be impacted by the construction.

An aerial view of Winstanley College
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In the summer the college recorded another outstanding set of A-level results.