Multimillion pound refurbisment at new Kings Priory School in Tynemouth

The newly merged Kings Priory School will have a £4m refurbishment over the next year

privately-run King’s School
privately-run King’s School

Principal David Dawes revealed that millions will be pumped into transforming the sixth form area and also the building housing the reception pupils during the academy’s first 12 months.

The news came as the staff and students at the Tynemouth school prepares to open it’s doors on Monday following a summer clouded by controversy over the merger of King’s School and Priory Primary.

The decision by the Department for Education (DfE) to enter into a funding agreement with Kings Priory School in July was met with opposition from members of North Tyneside Council.

Cabinet voted on whether they should pursue a judicial review into the decision after raising concerns over processes adopted by the governing bodies of King’s School and Priory Primary, and the DfE. However, the move was not carried.

Mr Dawes, who was appointed as principal earlier this year, said there was never any doubt in his mind that the school would open as originally planned.

He said: “The politics and publicity around the school actually have not been much of a distraction for the team.

“The team, who I have been working with since starting at Easter, have been absolutely fantastic. Also the support from the parents and the community here has been really encouraging and overwhelming.”

Monday will mark the first day with all 1,400 pupils, some from the preceding schools and some brand new, arriving in their new uniform consisting of navy blue jackets, blue cardigans or jumpers, and grey skirts or trousers.

In a show of commitment to ensuring high standards at the academy, a Government grant of £4m will be spent on completely renovating the sixth form area at the Huntington Place site as well as transforming the reception classrooms at the Priory Park site.

“By next autumn we will have a brand new sixth form building with a cafeteria area and we’re going to have a lift and glass atrium.

“The reception classrooms are also very important and they’re going to become state-of-the-art,” said Mr Dawes.

The school has also invested in a new computer suite.

Mr Dawes also addressed one of the key issues raised by the council about how the merger of the two schools would impact on the wider school network.

He said: “Part of our school’s ethos - which is character, achievement and service - is about connecting with the community and the wider community of schools and acting in support of those other schools.

“Hopefully we can link with them and schools will be positive about Kings Priory School and see it as a partner rather than some element of threat. This is going to take some time and work to build these valuable relationships but ultimately, as teachers, we are all after the same thing and that’s providing the best education to the children we serve.”

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