Green light for new school build to transform education in Amble

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Planning permission has been approved for the demolition and rebuild of James Calvert Spence College (JCSC) in Amble.

Northumberland County Council has already approved a £39m investment in the Coquet Partnership of schools which will see them convert to the two-tier education model, which is common across England.

Speaking at the council’s strategic planning meeting, JCSC headteacher, Neil Rodgers, said: “We’ve been closely involved with the design and plans for the school which allow for enhanced learning opportunities for students, significantly improved sixth form facilities and community access to specialist rooms for lifelong learners.

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"There will also be playing fields and other sports facilities that the pupils can use during the day and the community can access during the evenings, weekends and holidays.

The proposed new school in Amble.The proposed new school in Amble.
The proposed new school in Amble.

"I am confident that it will be hugely beneficial and deliver for our young people now and in the future.”

Along with a new state-of-the-art secondary school, the wider redevelopment of the JCSC site includes the refurbishment of the former middle school to create new facilities for Amble First School and a satellite provision for Barndale House School to provide 50 new places for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

It is proposed that 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.

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New and improved sports facilities will also be available to the local community including artificial and natural grass pitches, MUGAs and sports hall.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “This is the next milestone in our exciting and ambitious plans to transform education facilities in Amble and the surrounding area.

“Not only will this development provide a first-class learning environment for our children and young people, but fantastic sports facilities that will benefit the community too.”

In their report to councillors, planning officers said the projects are about “improving the teaching and learning environment” for pupils and creating “facilities that would also benefit the wider community.”

Some outbuildings and an old caretaker’s cottage are also due to be demolished to make way for a 50-space car park, with current parking also maintained.