EXCITED pupils are starting the new year in their revamped multi-million pound school after it officially opened today.
Dyke House Sports and Technology College, in Mapleton Road, Hartlepool, has undergone the transformation under the £12.4m Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.
The Mail was treated to an exclusive look inside the school, which has seen more than a quarter of it rebuilt with the rest extensively remodelled.
The centre of the old building has been stripped out and replaced with a new “street” area that links the reception to the school hall, complete with a new science area.
There is a new juice bar, modified canteen area, and comfy seats for students to relax in.
Throughout the building, old classrooms have been knocked through to create large open-plan teaching areas.
The hall has been revamped with collapsible walls fitted for drama, music and PE classes and two outside quad areas have been transformed into alternative teaching areas.
Dyke House headteacher Andrew Jordon said: “I am extremely pleased with the school, and a key part was to raise the aspirations of pupils.
“It is a difficult job market out there and we want to raise their aspirations to give them the best possible chance over other students.
“This new school provides a great base for them to take on their education.”
Mr Jordon praised the main contractors, Balfour Beatty and Northgate, for their efforts.
The revamped school – which was on budget – even has its own solar panels, a wind turbine and rainwater harvesting equipment.
Improved ICT is also a key feature with £1m worth of equipment and fast WiFi throughout.
There is also a cardio gym and plans for a sports science lab.
Dyke House, which has 1,050 pupils and 120 staff, is split into five areas to create a “school within a school”.
Each group will remain with the same set of teachers for all five years in their area of the building and each area has its own open-plan teaching spaces and traditional classrooms.
Each year group has a different colour theme, ICT facilities and toilets.
The idea is to build better relationships to further improve standards.
Mr Jordon added: “The staff are fully on board with the new model.
“There are some difficult challenges in education coming up and we have to make sure we teach in a different way to meet those challenges for these children.
“We have a lot more open teaching spaces now with the teaches on view and I think that is a good thing.”
Year 7 pupils will start at 8am in a bid to boost their literacy skills with the rest of the school starting at 8.25am and finishing at 2.45pm.
Meanwhile, the school’s Avondale Centre has also had a revamp with a number of ICT and conference rooms available for community hire.
There is even an on-site nursery that will be used by parents and also teaching staff who can drop their children off.
The nursery, which can cater for 25 children aged nought to eight, will officially open next Monday.
There are also new BSF-funded tennis courts and the state-of-the-art 3G sports pitch, paid for by the school.
The school, which was built in 1938, moved to the former Brierton Comprehensive site, in Catcote Road, during the revamp which started in September 2010.