AN INDEPENDENT school has announced major building plans which will join together its youngest pupils for the first time.
Central Newcastle High School currently runs its junior school on two sites.
The nursery for Year Two classes are based at West Avenue, Gosforth, and its Year Three to Six classes are located at Chapman House in Sandyford Park.
Head teacher Hilary French said: “This is an exciting time for our junior school. We have told parents of our plans to renovate and refurbish our school at Chapman House and we will be seeking planning permission both for the changes and to move the whole of our junior school to this site from September 2012.
“We are in the early stages of the process, but we wanted to notify parents as soon as possible so that they can help us shape our plans for the future.”
She added: “Central High is very fortunate to be part of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) network of schools; the GDST will be fully funding the project.”
Chapman House, previously known as Nazareth House and Villa Real, was designed by John Dobson in 1817.
A chapel and additional buildings were added from 1916 onwards to create a convent, school and children’s home for the Poor Sisters of Nazareth. The GDST bought Nazareth House in 1999, renaming it Chapman House after Angela Chapman, Central High’s headteacher at that time.
The school hopes to sell its Gosforth premises if the planning application to join the sites is successful. Central High’s senior school in Eskdale Terrace, Jesmond, which caters for girls aged 11 to 18, will not be affected by the change.
Mrs French said: “The educational benefits of having the junior school girls, teachers and resources on one site are at the core of our plans.
“Chapman House is a wonderful location for a school; it is set in five acres of beautiful grounds.
“We aim to enhance the internal and external aspects of the buildings, while respecting their heritage, to create a vibrant and exciting educational environment for the girls.”
The GDST Estates Department has prepared outline plans for the building work and the school recently appointed Newcastle architects, _space, to develop the designs and administer the contract.
The group’s chief executive, Rob Charlton, said: “We are delighted to have been asked to unite Central Newcastle High School’s junior school on one site, as well as renovate and refurbish a very important local landmark.
“_space group has a strong background in conservation work, having been responsible for the maintenance of the National Trust’s portfolio in the North for many years.
“We are confident we can give Central High School a junior school that will meet both Central High’s high standards, as well as our own.”