|Rutland County Council has secured £1.8m to develop a new state of the art science block at Casterton Community College.|
The council submitted a bid to the Department for Education and Skills’ Targeted Capital Fund in December 2001 to build the new science block and convert the resulting redundant block into an ‘Expressive Arts Centre’.
The announcement comes after the council wrote to the department imploring it to reconsider its original refusal of the bid.
The 'Science for the 21st Century' Block will comprise six labs with associated prep rooms and storage, supplementary teaching spaces, resource area for displays and IT, science project room, science library, greenhouse and a science staff base, all with IT networking.
The then redundant science block will be remodelled in the Second Phase to form an ‘Expressive Arts Centre’, comprising a dance and drama studio, recital rooms, ensemble room, seven group rooms. It will also have space for individual lessons, a recording and control room and storage facilities.
The project will radically overcome long-standing deficiencies in the condition and suitability of the science accommodation and of facilities for music, dance and drama. It will also incorporate disabled access provisions to areas at present inaccessible to the disabled by linking the new two storey science block (which will be served by a lift) to the existing two storey block.
Roger Begy, Cabinet portfolio holder for Education and Youth said: “The provision of a new build block will dramatically improve the quality of the science accommodation and substantially enhance the efficiency and flexibility of teaching.”
Roger continued: “The wider range of possible teaching methods combined with Information Communications Technology (ICT) that the new facility will provide, is likely to lead to increases in educational attainment.
“Drama and dance are currently severely restricted due to inadequate provision of suitable accommodation. With the recent introduction of PE (Dance) and Drama as a GCSE subject, the improved accommodation and facilities will significantly widen opportunities and aid development in the arts.”
Head teacher, Richard Bird, said: “This will transform the kind of education people can expect of Casterton. Science is one of our most successful subjects but we have worked in sub-standard accommodation for many years. Now the school will have a facility to match the quality of its teaching.
“This successful bid has been a result the close partnership between the foundation school and the local authority and would like to thank the authority for all the help it has given.”
The new facility will also benefit the wider community. It is estimated that an additional 50-60 people per night could take up additional and new classes, courses or sessions as a result of the project. Access to all areas of the school for the community will be improved by the installation of a lift in the new building connected to the existing two-storey block.
The existing accommodation on the school site originates from the secondary modern provision for 550 pupils in the 1960’s, with some original blocks dating back to the central school of the 1930’s still in use. Marginal alterations have taken place since then with pupil numbers now in the region of 800. A Governor-funded nine classroom block recently replaced seven mobiles but does not address the facilities required for specialist subjects such as science, drama and dance.
Two of the existing science labs are within poorly converted accommodation; a tractor garage and a domestic science kitchen. The labs are dispersed in different blocks on different levels with no effective central prep rooms or support facilities, with the result of practical difficulties and inefficiencies. There is no mains gas supply to the existing science block.
The project will be phased over two financial years and the nature of the project will easily allow phasing to minimise disturbance to the school.
01572 758 328
start: Friday 22 November 2002