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Multi-million pound school plan for Yorkshire Dales town

[Thursday 07 September 2006]

A multi-million pound school combining state-of-the-art teaching provision with the very latest in green technology is to be built in the Yorkshire Dales - and used as a model for the future.

Around £30 million will be spent transforming the learning environment at Richmond School and turning it into a showpiece for "sustainability". Ideas which are likely to be considered include energy from solar panels, local sourcing of all materials, Biomass powered heating and recycled rainwater.

school plans
Richmond MP William Hague and head teacher Phil Beever
with models and plans of the new school

North Yorkshire is one of only three local authorities in the country to be chosen by the Department for Education and Skills to build a "national demonstration project" for sustainable development.

The government had already promised £29.6 million under its 'Building Schools for the Future Single Pathfinder Scheme' for the redevelopment of Richmond School. With the award of the sustainable demonstration status, even more funding may be made available.

Exactly how the school will be redeveloped will be decided by the council in consultation with parents, governors, English Heritage, and other interested parties. An opportunity for local groups and members of the public to make their views known first hand will come next week (12 September), when the council will hold an open evening at the school.

At the meeting, the design team will explain the background to the development, present the range of options, and invite comments on how the people of Richmond want to see their school develop.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for us to take the centre stage and show how things ought to be," said Councillor John Watson, executive member for the children and young people's service.

"It will be cutting edge in every way - a first class school delivering the curriculum in the best learning environment, and with the best credentials for sustainability."

It will be cutting edge in every way - a first class school delivering the curriculum in the best learning environment

John Watson - County Councillor

He added: "Obviously, we shall have to be sensitive to the impact upon Richmond itself that such a major development will have. That is why our consultation process is so important."

Richmond School, which is attended by around 1,600 pupils in the 11 to 18 age group, is currently scattered across a split site. At its heart is a Grade Two listed building, included on the register of architecturally or historically important buildings as an early 1930s example of modernist architecture.

"One very important aspect of the development of the scheme is the engagement of all the various groups and individuals who have an interest in Richmond School and the education of the children and young people in the community it serves," says Richard Allen, Capital Planning Manager in the Children's and Young People's Service.

  • The public meeting will be held at Richmond School between 5pm and 9pm on 12 September.

Your views:

  • Whilst I welcome the development of a sustainable facility, we should be careful that this is not yet another attempt by this corrupt Government to introduce privatisation by the back door.

    How is this project to be financed? Will it be another PFI that mortgages the future of education in Richmond? Is all this work really necessary or just another method of giving taxpayers' money and assets to Government cronies?

    I think we should be told!

    Leslie Rowe - Brompton on Swale

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