Coquet Partnership South Avenue

Work gets underway on game-changing £39m Coquet schools masterplan 

Work is underway on two new schools for Amble in the first phase of a masterplan that will transform education in the area for generations to come.  
Northumberland County Council is investing £39m into the Coquet Partnership of schools as it prepares to move from a three to a two-tier system from September 2024. 
In the first phase of the wider masterplan, the former Amble Middle School site on South Avenue will be redeveloped 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 called Barndale-by-the-Sea for pupils with special educational needs including autism; social and emotional mental health; speech, language and communication, and moderate learning difficulties.  
Contractors, Robertson Construction North East, have now 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.  
Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet member for Inspiring Young People, said: “It is fantastic to reach this milestone and to see our ambitious plans for the Coquet Partnership of schools taking shape. 
We’re investing in education right across the county so that all our young people can have access to the right education for them as close to home as possible.” 
Cllr Jeff Watson, Cabinet member for Healthy Lives and who represents Amble West with Warkworth, said: “This exciting masterplan for the Coquet Partnership will be a game-changer for the area, creating first-class teaching, learning and sports facilities that will transform the lives of young people and the whole community for generations to come. 
We’re seeing more and more families moving into Amble and so it’s brilliant to see work getting underway and I look forward watching the new buildings take shape.” 
While the two schools will share the existing middle school buildings and site, they will operate independently with dedicated entrances, internal and external spaces and parking. 
Designs for the primary school include an early years wing, hall and library. 
Barndale-by-the-Sea will be fitted out with bespoke SEND general classrooms, a life skills studio, home economics, STEM classroom and library. 
The existing playgrounds and playing field areas surrounding the buildings will be maintained and enhanced as part of the development, with a focus on biodiversity including rich grassland and wildflower meadows.  
Plans for the next steps in the masterplan include work commencing on expanding the partnerships' other first schools ready for them to become primary schools in September 2024 and on a new building for James Calvert Spence College due to open in April 2026. 
Lizzie Jackson, headteacher of Amble First School, said: “We’re so excited about our new school and are very happy with the plans. We’re going to have new classrooms, a library and more outdoor space and playing fields which will be brilliant for the children.  
“We decided a new school building needed a new name, and we’ll be announcing that very soon. But apart from that, there won’t be a lot of changes – other than having a fantastic new building. Our numbers will grow gradually and we’re looking forward to having our children with us for that little bit longer.” 
Mark Phillips, headteacher of Barndale House School, said: “We’re really looking forward to opening our new site in Amble and becoming part of the local community where we can help to make sure more young people have their needs met as close to home as possible.
I’m very proud of the positive, warm atmosphere staff and pupils have created at Barndale House and we are excited about expanding this to Barndale-by-the-Sea.  
“We’re also pleased to have the opportunity to work more closely with the other schools in the partnership to support one another and do the very best we can for all the young people in the partnership.” 
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