Picture: Keith Blundy

The Right Revd. Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, will officially open a new £2.5m state-of-the-art primary school building in Hartlepool next week.

Bishop Paul will perform the ceremony at Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Crawford Street, Seaton Carew, in front of invited guests on Tuesday 8th December.

 The 1,300 sq metre single storey building – which has been delivered through the Government’s flagship £4.4bn Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) – has been built on the site of the school’s former building. The old building dated from the 1920s and had deteriorated due to its age and has been demolished.

The new building – which has 210 places for 4-11 year olds plus 26 full time-equivalent nursery places – has a host of new features and improvements:

* The school hall is now at one end of the building – previously it was not possible to move from one end of the building to the other without having to go through the hall.

* As well as the normal classrooms, there are now separate rooms where children can also work in small groups.

* There is a learning resource area, a kitchen for food-related classes and mobile technology in every classroom, including laptops, Kindles and iPads.

* The classrooms are at one side of the building and each has its own door opening onto a concourse from where parents can collect their children at the end of the day. Previously, all the children had to be collected from a busy single entrance.

* The school has a separate Early Years area including – for the first time – a nursery.

* The furniture has been specially designed to the school’s specification by Hartlepool company Optimum and the heating and lighting is energy efficient.

* There are separate play areas for the nursery and reception children and the old school’s memorial garden has been retained.

The majority of the funding for the new building was from the Government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA), but for the nursery provision £159,000 came from Hartlepool Council and £17,000 from the school and Diocese of Durham.

The building was designed by architects Archial NORR working in collaboration with staff, pupils, governors, the Diocese and Hartlepool Council, and was built by Kier Construction.

Parents have played an important part in helping to equip the school. The Parent Teacher Association raised funds for items including new interactive white boards for every classroom and a lot of money has been raised by selling bricks bearing the name of the donor, which form a feature at the school’s main entrance.

Parent Guy Dobson of local firm Buildroute gave his time and expertise to install this feature for free and another parent, Mark Booth, ran the Edinburgh Marathon to raise funds to buy a projector and retractable screen for the main hall. 

In addition, the Seaton Ward Councillors – Kelly Atkinson, Tom Hind and Paul Thompson – gave a total of £1,000 from their ward budgets to buy books for the library.

Bishop Paul said: “I am delighted to have been asked to open this building and to formally recognise its new beginning. We are very proud of the work done in our church schools across the diocese where daily we educate more than 14,000 children.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the new building and meeting some of the children and the staff and others involved in making this new facility a reality.”

Headteacher Amanda Baines said: “Parts of the old school were built as early as 1925 and were in constant need of repair, so to have a new state-of-the-art school and nursery is wonderful.

“We now have a building which is fit for purpose, reflects our distinct Christian ethos, meets our curriculum needs and creates a welcoming and stimulating learning environment.

“Our thanks go to everyone who played a part in making this possible and special thanks go to the EFA and Kier who have made this an interesting and enjoyable journey.”

Ian Anderson, the school’s Chair of Governors, added: “After many years of wanting our own nursery provision and applying for funding to rebuild our school, this money from the PSBP, Hartlepool Council, the Diocese and the school has finally enabled us not only to have a full rebuild but also our own nursery, providing an excellent environment for outstanding teaching and learning within the Seaton Carew community for many years to come.”

Councillor Chris Simmons, Chair of Hartlepool Council’s Children’s Services Policy Committee, said: “We are very pleased that the funding was made available to build this fine new school. We wish it every success and have no doubt that the pupils and staff will flourish in it.”