Hexham MP Guy Opperman attended Haltwhistle’s new Primary Academy with children’s author and ex-pupil, Iona Daley, who opened the building.
Doors were officially opened on the £2.65m school project on Park Avenue in Haltwhistle which has seen the former middle school undergo a major refurbishment to create a new Primary Academy, new space for community activities and the Children’s Centre.
The opening follows a long-standing campaign by Mr Opperman and Northumberland County Council to ensure investment in schools reaches the most rural communities. Since becoming MP in 2010, Mr. Opperman has secured more money and better buildings for local schools, which also in include a full rebuild of Queen Elizabeth High, and a major refurbishment of Haydon Bridge High School.
The project has received funding from Northumberland County Council and WISE Academies, the trust that oversees the running of the school.
Local Haltwhistle Ward Councillor Ian Hutchinson, alongside Northumberland County Council Cabinet Member, Guy Renner-Thompson were also in attendance at the official opening of the School.
Guy Opperman MP said:
‘‘I was delighted to attend the opening of Haltwhistle Primary School. After many years of campaigning, I am glad we have finally secured the investment the school needs.
The facilities are state-of-the-art, and I look forward to our children in West Tynedale having the opportunity to learn in these excellent new facilities. As our local MP, I will always fight for more money and better buildings for all our rural schools, so local pupils get the very best education.”
Headteacher, Susie Drake said:
‘’We are delighted to have successfully moved into our new school site on Park Avenue, Haltwhistle. We are already seeing the benefits of our first class educational facilities and our children are excited by their new modern classrooms and specialist teaching spaces. Our Early Years department provides a homely, creative setting to spark children's imagination alongside an inspiring location for outdoor adventures.
The additional capacity across school means that we are able to welcome new families who are looking for excellent teaching and a fantastic learning environment for their children. This is a wonderful opportunity for children in the Haltwhistle area and we are excited about the future for our school community.’’
Zoe Carr, Chief Executive of WISE academies said:
"It is a great delight to officially open the remodelled Haltwhistle Primary School. The transformation to this building has been quite remarkable. Now the children of Haltwhistle have a school they can be proud of. Bright open spaces, enhanced library provision, a spacious dance studio, and specialist art and music rooms are just a few of the features that pupils can now enjoy.
The outdoor play space for the youngest children, set against the beautiful Northumberland countryside, rivals any National Trust park. Whatsmore, it is exciting to be located on the same site as the Western Tynedale Children's Centre. Now local families have a fantastic facility that can provide many services both now and into the future."
Guy Renner-Thompson, Northumberland County Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services
‘’This is a fantastic day for Haltwhistle and the surrounding area. The Council continues to invest in education in the west of Northumberland for the future of our children. After the community was so badly let down by the failed Bright Tribe Trust, our partnership on this project with WISE Academies is an examplar of how Councils can work Academies that could be replicated across the Country.’’