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South Shore Academy has bright future as Morgan Sindall breaks ground on £13 million project

A photograph of Gary Naylor of PSBP NW ProjectCo Ltd and Jane Bailey, principal of South Shore Academy, holding the spade at the turf cutting ceremony, accompanied by Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski, CEO of Bright Futures Educational Trust, the Morgan Sindall site team, school governors, staff and pupils – both from South Shore Academy and neighbouring schools.

Morgan Sindall has started work on the £13 million transformation of South Shore Academy on St Anne’s Road, Blackpool.

The start of work on site was marked in traditional fashion with a turf cutting ceremony on Friday 17 June. Pupils and teachers from other schools in the surrounding area were invited to attend the event, which also saw speeches from Jane Bailey, principal of the school and Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski, CEO of Bright Futures Educational Trust.

South Shore Academy is one of 12 schools being rebuilt by Morgan Sindall under the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) North West Batch which aims to provide purpose-built school buildings to those in most need of urgent repair and was awarded to a Morgan Sindall Investments/Equitix consortium in August 2014.

Plans for the school will see two new buildings constructed – a three storey main building and a single storey sports hall – with a combined floor area of almost 5,000m².

The main building will house 25 classrooms across three storeys. General classrooms will be situated on the first floor, with art rooms and state-of-the-art science labs on the second floor. The improved laboratory facilities will support the progress that the school has already made in its ongoing drive to improve teaching and results across the sciences.

The new sports hall has been designed to be fully Sport England compliant, featuring double height spaces to maximise the number of sports that can be played. The new facility, which also features a Special Educational Needs (SEN) group room, will remove the Academy’s reliance on the adjacent Leisure Centre and ensure that pupils at the school have ready access to a first-class environment in which to exercise.

The four existing school buildings will eventually be demolished and replaced by a visitor and staff car park, with an attractive tree-lined cycle path and footpath running alongside it.

Construction work is due to be completed in time for the start of the academic school year in September 2017. The finished school will provide up to 900 pupils from the local area with a modern education facility, fit for 21st century learning.

Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski, CEO of Bright Futures Educational Trust, said: “As a Trust we are committed to creating a teaching and learning ethos which will enable pupils to fulfil their academic potential, which includes providing them with the best possible facilities. The renovation work at South Shore will provide an innovative and modern learning environment, which will fully support and inspire our pupils. We are delighted to be able to work with Morgan Sindall to deliver this.”

The Trust, which was set up in 2011 following consultation with Manchester Council and the Department for Education, is a partnership of nine schools across the North West and aims to deliver a world-class education to all pupils, regardless of background.

Morgan Sindall’s area director, Barry Roberts, added: “We’re proud to be delivering another school as part of the PSBP NW programme. Once complete, the new look South Shore Academy will provide pupils and staff with a modern learning environment and will be an enduring addition to the educational offering in the area.

“As with all of our construction work, we set out to not only cause minimal disruption to school life, but also to complement the teaching on offer by providing access to work placements and careers advice for pupils interested in the construction industry.”

Morgan Sindall Investments Limited’s NW General Manager Gary Naylor said: “We are delighted to have commenced work on another school in the PSBP NW Batch and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the EFA and the staff and pupils of South Shore Academy to successfully deliver their new school in September 2017.”

The PSBP North West Batch includes a total of 12 schools in Blackpool, Chester, Wigan, Manchester, Stockport and the Wirral.

Each new school is being built on land within the existing school boundary allowing the existing school to remain operational during construction of the new buildings. Once complete, each school will move into the new teaching facilities while the old buildings are demolished and external landscaping works are completed.

Designers have utilised level two Building Information Modelling (BIM) practices to design the school. This allows the different disciplines involved in design and construction to share information leading to greater efficiencies.

The full list of schools the Morgan Sindall Investments/Equitix consortium is delivering under the PSBP NW Batch is as follows:

Secondary schools:

  • Blacon High School, Blacon, Chester
  • The Deanery Church of England High School and Sixth Form College, Wigan
  • Neston High School, Neston, Wirral
  • Ridgeway High School, Prenton, Wirral
  • South Shore Academy, Blackpool

Primary schools:

  • Bedford Drive Primary School, Birkenhead
  • Bridge Hall Primary School, Stockport
  • Dee Point Primary School, Blacon, Chester
  • Halebank Primary School, Halebank, Halton
  • Hawes Side Primary School, Blackpool
  • JH Godwin Primary School, Blacon, Chester
  • Plymouth Grove Primary School, Manchester