Work on the expansion of St Mark's Church of England Primary School to create the city's first all-through school - combining primary and secondary education on one site - has reached a major milestone with the start of full construction work this week.
This week (Monday 29 June 2020) staff from St Mark's Church of England Primary School were joined by representatives from Southampton City Council, the Diocese of Winchester, and contractors to officially mark the beginning of construction work on the new school that will create 900 much-needed new school places.
Councillor Christopher Hammond (Leader of Southampton City Council), Councillor Darren Paffey (Cabinet Member for Children and Learning), Councillor Dave Shields and Councillor Steve Leggett (both representing Freemantle ward) were joined by Stephanie Bryant (Headteacher at St Mark's Church of England Primary School) and Robert Sanders (Diocese of Winchester) in taking up spades to mark the commencement of construction of the school, which is scheduled for completion in Autumn 2022.
Work on the Southampton City Council project, in partnership with the Diocese of Winchester, will be carried out in line with government guidelines with social distancing and other measures in place to help all workers stay safe.
As previously revealed, the expanded school will provide spaces for a pre-school nursery, a two-form entry primary school and a six form entry secondary school. In addition, natural and artificial grass sports pitches will form part of the expanded school, with plans to make these available for members of the public to hire outside school hours - creating a new clean, well-maintained space at the heart of the community that will help support active and healthy lifestyles for people of all ages.
Councillor Darren Paffey, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, said:
“This is an ambitious and exciting project and a clear signal of our commitment to ensuring that children get the best possible start in life and benefit from best-in-class education facilities. I’m pleased that the next phase of work has begun and that we are moving closer to creating hundreds of much-needed school places for our young children.
"The project team and all partners involved with the project are committed to ensuring that works are carried out responsibly and safely. We’ll also continue to be mindful of the impact that works can have on the nearby community and keep local residents and businesses updated.
Jeff Williams, Director of Education at the Diocese of Winchester, said:
“The start of full construction work is an exciting milestone for us as we expand St Mark’s Church of England Primary School to create Southampton’s first all-through school. The completed project will offer the city’s young people an educational environment in which they can thrive, as well as providing fantastic sports facilities for students and the local community.
"St Mark’s has a strong record of giving primary school pupils an excellent standard of education, rooted in their Christian values, and today we are one step closer to making this available to students throughout their school years. Working in partnership with the Council, this project demonstrates the Church of England’s commitment to helping more children, of all faiths and none, have the best possible start in life.”
Stephanie Bryant, Headteacher, St Mark’s CofE Primary School, said:
“We are really looking forward to being able to welcome children of all ages at St Mark’s, and it’s thrilling that after all the planning and deliberation, work is now getting underway in earnest. This is not just an important milestone for our school, but also for education in Southampton. Underpinned by Christian values, the expanded all-through school will be the first of its kind in the city, and it represents a hugely positive step for young people in Southampton. I am also pleased that the expansion will allow us to offer facilities for use by the local community.”