Work starts at super school 

Bolton St Catherine's
An artist’s impression of the new Bolton St Catherine’s Academy and Firwood School campus.

Building work has begun at the first academy in the country to cater for students aged three to 19 years old.

The £36m, ultra-modern building will be home to Britain’s first ‘super-school’, catering for children from nursery age through to sixth form. The new building will ensure students learn in an inspiring environment with a range of specialist facilities. Work on the new site will be complete by April 2012.

The building work follows the decision by Withins Secondary School and Top o’ th’ Brow Primary School to become Bolton St Catherine’s Academy in September 2009.

The site will form a joint campus with Firwood School, and both the academy and the school will benefit from sharing facilities, although Firwood will remain under the control of the local authority.

Councillors John and Linda Byrne, Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton, attended a bricklaying ceremony on the site today (March 4). Guests at the ceremony heard new academy principal Lee Harris and head teacher of Firwood Jonathon Steele outline their vision.

In a joint statement, Lee Harris, principal of Bolton St Catherine’s Academy, and Jonathan Steele, Firwood School head teacher, said: “The radical way that St Catherine’s and Firwood have worked together will ensure we create an outstanding learning community that can be an example to us all. These facilities will support us in our aims to increase aspiration, maximise achievement and ensure everyone can make a valuable contribution.

“However, this is just the beginning. It will allow us to really expand the ground-breaking work that we have already done together, offering all students real opportunities for outstanding learning that aim to ensure they become respected contributors to their community and enjoy successful and fulfilling lives.”

Nigel Brook, managing director of construction company Kier, shared details of the plans for the building, while students from the primary, secondary and sixth form sections of the academy, as well as from Firwood, told the audience their hopes for their new surroundings.

Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council, said: “It is a pleasure to be at this ceremony, which marks an important development in Bolton. The all-age academy will give young people the chance to have a real continuity to their school years and a lasting attachment to their teachers and surroundings. The designs for the building look fantastic; and I can’t wait to see them take shape.”

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