2015 target for opening of new school

DHS buiiding'Duchess's High School, Alnwick
DHS buiiding'Duchess's High School, Alnwick

The target date for the start of construction on a new high school in Alnwick is 2014, with the doors opening in September 2015.

The Duchess’s Community High School is included in the first batch of 13 schools in the North East for procurement, following its selection for the Government’s Priority Schools Building Programme in May.

As it stands, the target dates include the build programme starting on site in January 2014 with the new school opening its doors to pupils in September 2015.

However a county council report does say that it’s ‘an ambitious timeline at the instigation of the Secretary of State, and may be revised for a variety of reasons’.

In October last year, Alnwick’s high school was on of three to be included in a county council bid for rebuild funding.

In May, the Secretary of State announced that all three bids were successful and would get new-build schools through a new PFI (Private Finance Initiative) route.

In the report to today’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s family and children’s services overview and scrutiny committee, there are also details of what the PFI funding will not cover.

It will not cover the costs for ICT servers and equipment, furniture, fixtures, fittings and equipment, nor will it cover the costs of moving existing school resources and equipment into the new building.

There is no central government funding to cover the costs of off-site highways works, which would include an access road to the Greensfield site in Alnwick and any other improvements needed.

There is also no funding to provide project support and technical advice or to compensate schools for the time that is needed to develop the project.

And in the case of Alnwick, there would be no funding secure or demolish the redundant school site on Howling Lane.

The move to Greensfield would also enable the the Bailiffgate annex to be returned to Northumberland Estates, and the cost of any works to be carried out would need to be covered by the council or school.