news

Neston's new £25m high school opens its doors

Once in a lifetime opportunity for the community, says head

Youngest students Harry and Annalise at the opening with Neston mayor Pat Kynaston, headteacher Steve Dool and deputy head Rachel Hudson

Neston High School is looking forward to a new era.

An historic moment saw the Raby Park Road school declare its impressive new £25m building open almost 60 years since the town’s students first trod the corridors of its predecessor.

After many months of careful planning the school first opened its doors to Year 7 and 12 students on Friday September 8 with other years starting back the following Monday.

Staff and students marked the opening of their ‘fantastic new facilities’ with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the two youngest learners Harry and Annalise witnessed by Neston mayor Pat Kynaston, headteacher Steve Dool and deputy head Rachel Hudson.

The development, heralded as ‘impressive’ by the town’s civic society, is said to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Neston.

“This is a very important milestone for our community,” said Mr Dool as contracts for the new build were signed.

The agreement confirmed the construction of the new purpose-built school building with places for 1,750 students including a sixth form.

It has been built on land already owned by Neston High away from the current school buildings.

The three-storey campus offers state of the art facilities for all students including 16 science labs, 13 art and design technology classrooms and a drama studio in addition to more than 60 other classroom and teaching spaces.

The school when it was still under construction(Image: UGC TCH)

It also provides comprehensive sports and fitness facilities including changing space, two activity studios and ICT areas for the library, a learning resource centre and a sixth form study zone.

Mr Dool said at an earlier stage: “This important step is the culmination of many years of work to ensure the young people of this area receive the very best opportunities to enable them to prepare for high quality destinations for generations to come.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this community.

“The school has been instrumental in ensuring that the local community is thriving and economically vibrant on a national and international level and this investment will secure this for years to come.”

He added: “We are really looking forward to enjoying the increased spaces for non-educational use such as our new 450sq m dining room, an outside dining area,an eco-garden and improved parking for staff and visitors.”

Mrs Hudson has described the move as ‘a significant and special moment in the history of the school’ while the Department for Education itself has said it believes ‘high quality education in a high quality learning environment is crucial to the future success of this community’.

The contractors will shortly be launching phase 2 of the project which includes the demolition of the old school and replacing it with a new all‐weather pitch.

Phase 2 will also bring a new car park and drop‐off area which the school believes will be ‘a significant improvement’ with increased spaces and ease of access.

In the meantime special provision is being made for parking out of normal teaching hours when there are events at the school such as the open evening and parents evenings.

Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed by Easter 2018 when there will be an official opening.

Running concurrently with these works a major £3m development is taking place at the nearby sports centre, affectionately known as Neston Rec.

Tina Phillips, Neston High business manager; Ben Wolstenholme, project manager for builders Morgan Sindall; Steve Dool, headteacher and Colin Randerson, deputy head

Operated by Brio Leisure, the borough council’s leisure arm, the new look centre will see a fully accessible, two-storey extension with a new spacious reception and viewing area to the pool on the ground floor and a lift up to the first floor.

Facilities will include upgraded swimming changing rooms, a community room, a purpose-built fitness studio on the ground floor offering a wide range of group exercise classes, a new 60-plus station gym on the first floor, upgraded first floor gym changing rooms and a replacement sports hall floor.

The centre is due to be fully open in April 2018 and Brio has promised to keep the community updated throughout the developments.

Brio Leisure managing director Elly McFahn, herself a former competitive swimmer, said: “This is a wonderful, multi-purpose scheme which we believe will meet the future ambitions of both the community, schools and sports clubs that currently use the centre.”

The success of a funding bid to Sport England will see £500,000 worth of National Lottery funding particularly to improve the experience for swimmers.

The scheme is the first major investment in the building since it opened in March 1974 as a joint-use centre for the community and Neston High School’

Chairman of Brio Leisure and Neston resident Anthony Annakin-Smith said at an earlier stage: “The new facilities will considerably enhance the enjoyment of Neston Rec for our many users and make it a much more attractive place to visit for them and for newcomers.

“The investment underpins Brio’s commitment to supporting fitness, fun and health for the whole community.”

Brio and the borough worked with Neston Town Council and the high school on the design with Mr Dool commenting: ““We are delighted to see this new investment which will complement the fantastic new school building alongside.”

View full mobile page