An ‘exciting’ £10m project that will see major expansion of the Weald School in Billingshurst was unveiled last week.
Construction is due to start in January 2015 and finish in September 2016 in time for the school’s 60th anniversary, and would see its capacity increase from 1,500 school children to between 1,800 and 1,900.
It will provide students with a modern catering facility and new dining area, high tech classrooms for a range of subjects, extra science, drama and music provision, new ICT infrastructure, new PE changing facilities, and an enhanced sixth-form space.
Peter Woodman, headteacher at the Weald, said: “It’s really exciting because the Weald has an eclectic collection of buildings built from the 1950s onwards.
“To have something that’s really built bespoke to modern day standards is really exciting, and I think the teachers are keen their school develops. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to make sure the environment is purpose built.”
He said that some of the facilities, such as the dining hall, had been designed when the school had just 800 pupils.
Plans have taken around a year to finalise and have been designed to minimise disruption to the school and the wider community.
He added: “West Sussex County Council, the local authority, have worked hand in hand with us so we meet students’ needs.
“The driving force for this is capacity with all the building in Billingshurst, and we are a popular school. Over a period of three, four, five years the roll has already risen.”
Jeremy Hunt (Con, Chichester North), West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “The facilities will not only include extra teaching accommodation in all areas of the curriculum but also improved infrastructure to cater for the extra pupils such as a dining hall, kitchen, ICT network, sixth form, sports facilities and toilets.”
The school held an exhibition last Thursday July 17 for students, staff, parents and Billingshurst residents, with around 70 members of the public attending.
The secondary school, based off Station Road, was ranked ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in October 2013.
Mr Woodman added: “There is no doubt that the final result will make the school one of the most modern in the area and enable staff to further improve the outstanding educational experience already offered to students.”