This is how Sunderland's St Aidan's Academy will benefit from multi-million pound rebuild
One of Sunderland’s oldest schools is to benefit from a multi-million pound rebuilding project which will transform the site.
St Aidan’s Catholic Academy in Ashbrooke is made up of a series of buildings, including the main school that dates back to the 1960s, and hasn’t benefited from a more modern facility since the science block was built 22 years ago.
However, in the coming years it will undergo massive building upgrades under the Government’s School Rebuilding Programme which will mark a major new chapter in its long history.
More details on the build will be released in the coming months following a feasibility study and the subsequent appointment of architects and contractors.
The ten Sunderland schools who expelled or suspended the highest number of pupils according to latest Government figures
Watch as volunteers make passionate plea for help to prevent it being the end of the line for Roker Park miniature railway in Sunderland
Sunderland-born Emeli Sande's touching tribute to parents after becoming chancellor as pictures released of her childhood in Wearside
But, all going to plan, the project could be completed in the next two to three years.
The school currently has 960 pupils from years 7 to 13 across the site, with the new build expected to bring the pupils under one roof.
The 130-year-old St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School will also benefit from the Government’s School Rebuilding Programme.
Both schools are part of the Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust (BCCET).
Brendan Tapping, chief executive of the trust, said: “The build will be driven by the curriculum and culture of the school and local employment opportunities. We’ll be building something for St Aidan’s that will serve Sunderland for decades to come. It’s a real opportunity for the school and the community we serve.”
He added: “With St Patrick’s, there’s a lot of homes being built nearby and it's an area of regeneration for the city. This is an opportunity to create a purpose-built school fit for the 21st century for the existing, as well as future, pupils.”
A key consideration in these early planning stages will be to not disrupt the education of the existing pupils, with the schools operating as usual throughout the process.
Another main focus will be on creating buildings with energy efficient designs and high sustainability standards, that will be net zero in operation offering excellent facilities.
St Aidan’s headteacher, Glenn Sanderson, said it was an exciting new chapter for the site, which also includes the sixth form Briery building.
He said: “We’re very much looking forward to it, the community, the staff, the pupils, and the number of families that we’ve served historically in Sunderland for a number of years.
"There’s a lot of buzz around the new build, what that might look like, and how it will transform education in Sunderland. We’ve served lots of families in Sunderland and the wider communities for over a 100 years; everyone knows a father or grandfather who came to St Aidan’s so in terms of that future for the pupils it’s looking very bright and this building will serve them well for decades to come. It will be something that matches the world class education that we provide.”
St Aidan's Catholic Academy and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School are part of an announcement of 61 new projects, including primary, secondary and special schools, levelling up opportunities across the entire country.
Ministers say across the School Rebuilding Programme, the rebuilds and refurbishments will create modern education environments, providing new facilities from classrooms and science labs to sports halls and dining rooms.