Artist image of the new James Calvert Spence College

Progress builds for Amble's schools

Approval’s been given to formally award the contracts for the construction of school extensions in Amble. 

The Council’s Cabinet rubber-stamped extensions to the feeder schools in Amble and the refurbishment of South Avenue site for the relocation of Amble First Schools and the creation of a New Special School.  

Work is already underway to transform the former Amble Middle School site on South Avenue into two new schools.   

Amble First School will expand and relocate to become the 210-place primary school along with a 26-place nursery.   

Barndale House School will open a new 50-place satellite site - Barndale-by-the-Sea - for pupils with a range of neurodiverse needs. 

Contractors, Robertson Construction North East, have started work on the site where the caretaker’s cottage and existing outbuildings will be demolished and external alterations and extensions carried out to the existing buildings.   

Planning applications have also been submitted to expand Amble Links, Red Row, Grange View and Broomhill First Schools into primary schools from September 2024. 

Portakabin, which specialises in modular buildings, is working closely the schools to develop bespoke designs to accommodate additional pupils.   

The new classrooms will be manufactured off site before being transported to the schools for installation in May – meaning minimal disruption to school life. The manufacturing process is also energy efficient and will support the council’s goal to make Northumberland net-zero by 2030. 

Richard Bollands, Headteacher of Red Row First School and Chair of the Coquet Partnership, said: “We’re delighted that Northumberland County Council has allocated this funding to invest in school buildings and facilities in the Coquet Partnership.    

“All the schools have a shared vision to improve the educational outcomes and offer for our pupils to ensure every child meets their potential.” 

Meanwhile, the County Council has announced Kier as its preferred bidder for the design and build of a new school for James Calvert Spence College (JCSC) in Amble.  

The council is investing almost £43m in the Coquet Partnership of schools as it moves from a three to a two-tier system from September 2024. 

It’s the latest milestone in a masterplan that aims to transform education in Amble and the surrounding area for generations to come.  

The new school buildings for JCSC, designed by Ryder Architecture, will use innovative technologies to create a net zero carbon in operation school, supporting the council’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.  

The enhanced facilities include:  

  • A floodlit 3G full-size football pitch  

  • A Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA)  

  • A series of football and rugby pitches 

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet member with responsibility for Inspiring Young People at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is another milestone in our masterplan for schools in Amble and the wider Coquet Partnership, and I am delighted that we can now announce the preferred bidder for the project. 

“The scheme forms part of the council’s largest ever programme of capital investment in education and will bring new and improved sports facilities that will benefit the wider community too.” 

Cllr Jeff Watson, Cabinet member for Healthy Lives and who represents Amble West with Warkworth, said: “We’ve talked about these plans for a long time, but now they are quickly becoming reality and it’s very exciting for Amble and the surrounding area.   

“We’re witnessing a transformation in Amble and it’s going to be fantastic for the children and the whole community.” 

Neil Rodgers, headteacher, James Calvert Spence College, said: “We are excited at the new and enhanced opportunities that this investment in our school will bring to our pupils and the community as a whole. 

“We’ve been closely involved with the design and planning of the school campus for a significant period of time and know that it will provide what our young people need most – a modern building that is fit for purpose, with a hugely improved sixth form provision and uprated sports facilities. 

“These top-class facilities will be used by our pupils during the school day, and available for community use during evenings and weekends bringing a much needed educational, social and sporting hub to the town.” 

The final outcomes of the tender process for JCSC will be reported to Cabinet later in the year. 

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