Two Sunderland schools to be rebuilt after £18millon plans approved

City leaders have approved to spend more than £18 million on a school rebuilding programme.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 2:14 pm
Sunningdale School. Picture by FRANK REID

Almost 350 children and their families are set to benefit from the plans for two Wearside schools, with both set to have their total capacity increased in time for their planned reopening in 2022.

It is set to see Sunningdale School move to a purpose-built facility in Clinton Place, Doxford, while Hetton Primary School is in line for a ‘major refurbishment’ and expansion.

“The total capital cost of the proposals outlined are for £18.4million,” said Coun Louise Farthing, cabinet member for Children, Learning and Skills.

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Coun James Blackburn

“The works will contribute to the council’s strategy to ensure there are suitable places for Sunderland pupils in safe and healthy buildings.”

Coun Farthing was speaking at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

Sunningdale School, in Shaftoe Road, Springwell, teaches children with ‘profound, multiple and severe learning difficulties’, including autism, but needs ‘significant capital refurbishment’.

As well as better serving existing pupils, the new site in Doxford, estimated to cost £13.5million, will also increase capacity from 108 to 136.

Hetton Primary School, in Moorsley Road, Hetton, was built in the 1960s, but a planned £4.9million refurbishment is expected to add more classrooms, including new space for early years provision for two to five-year-olds, taking total capacity to 210.

It is also hoped the proposals could allow new housing to be built in the area.

Speaking after the meeting, Hetton councillor James Blackburn said the move would deliver ‘significant benefits for young people in the area’.

“I’m delighted with today’s decision. It’s something I – like many other people in the area – have wanted to see for some time,” he said.

"The school is 60 years old, and though staff deliver a fantastic, nurturing environment for students, the building is very tired and becoming more and more costly to run.

“In the past there were campaigns to close the school, something I campaigned to stop from happening, so today feels like a huge step forward, to have secured funding that will deliver a modern learning environment that will deliver real benefits to families in Hetton.”

Coun Blackburn added: “Helping our young people realise their potential is something I am very passionate about, and as a Labour Group, we are all very much committed to investing in the next generation. This project will transform the learning opportunities of Hetton’s youngest residents, ensuring they learn in a school that is fit for purpose, and I’m thrilled about it.”

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