WORK on a £16.5m revamp of a school to bring state-of-the-art facilities to aid pupils’ learning has begun.
Improvements are underway at Dene Community School of Technology, in Peterlee’s Manor Way, as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project.
A new building will replace part of the old school, which dates back to the early 1960s, and the former site will be remodelled to cater for 680, 11 to 16-year-olds.
A central “heart” area which can be used as an exhibition space and central hall area is planned along with better security, ICT and enhanced outdoor space.
Durham County Council chairman, Dennis Morgan, was at the school yesterday to cut the first sod on the school site.
School bosses say the scheme will provide an exciting opportunity to transform learning and improve educational standards and help build on the school’s rapidly-improving GCSE results.
School headteacher George Harris said: “We are recognised by Ofsted as being a rapidly improving school and if, as expected, we break through the 50 per cent A* to C including English and Maths threshold this year we will be placed on the top 10 per cent of similar schools nationally.
“Our new building, which provides flexible accommodation and first class facilities, will enable us to maintain our rate of progress and further our development.
“Our aim is to become an inspirational school and our £16.5m project will help us achieve our goal.”
Mr Harris said the school will enjoy new state-of-the-art facilities and technology will play an underpinning role in education, with the most recent technological advances being incorporated into the project and used across all areas of the curriculum.
He added: “The quality of the build provides us with a school which will be at the heart of our local community.
“We will be retaining our existing recently-built sports hall which is already providing excellent opportunities for our local community and our sports facilities will be further enhanced with the provision of a new sports pitch.
“Our pupils are excited about the new building.
“There are daily changes to our working environment and great anticipation that by September 2012 we will have the best possible buildings, facilities and accommodation to reach the highest educational standards possible for the pupils of Peterlee, Horden and wider areas of east Durham.”
Mr Harris said the school’s design technology, art and science departments will be taught in areas “which provide the best possible environment and will continue to do so for many years”.