Work on new high school build begins

Ian Lavery MP; Rob Kitching, principal, Ashington High;  Stephen Harmison, manager, Ashington AFC; Councillor Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council and Chris Smith, chair of governors, Ashington Learning Partnership.
Ian Lavery MP; Rob Kitching, principal, Ashington High; Stephen Harmison, manager, Ashington AFC; Councillor Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council and Chris Smith, chair of governors, Ashington Learning Partnership.

Building work on a £3.75m extension to a county high school is under way.

The new Advanced Learning Centre at Ashington High School Sports College, funded by Northumberland County Council, will house STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) facilities, a drama studio and classrooms.

It’s very exciting to see the building taking shape and I hope students and the wider community will make full use of the fantastic facilities here for many years to come

Principal Rob Kitching

Under the new structure, the high school will cater for 1,250 11 to 18-year-old students.

The other schools in the Ashington Learning Partnership, Central First, Wansbeck First, Hirst Park Middle and Bothal Middle will merge to create two new primary schools based on the sites they already occupy.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery and leader of Northumberland County Council Grant Davey visited the high school to see the progress.

They were joined by manager of Ashington FC and former England cricketer Stephen Harmison.

Mr Lavery said: “This is going to be a stunning new facility and as a former pupil of the school I’m very proud to see the progress that is under way.

“The school has had a difficult time of late but this new building is an integral part of the improvement plan which focuses on delivering outstanding education to Ashington’s students.

“I look forward to returning on completion of the building.”

Principal Rob Kitching added: “It’s very exciting to see the building taking shape and I hope students and the wider community will make full use of the fantastic facilities here for many years to come.”

Coun Davey said: “This investment by the council is a signal of our intent to drive improvements in the teaching and learning environments in Northumberland schools.

“We recognise the importance of studying sciences and technology at a young age and the potential career paths it can send pupils down, including engineering and manufacturing.

“STEM subjects will be vital in the planned economic development of the county.

“We want to ensure our pupils have a strong grounding in these key skills so they can progress onto further education, training, apprenticeships or employment across our region.”

The Advanced Learning Centre, which is being built by Esh Construction Ltd, will be completed in November 2015 with the school taking occupation in January 2016.