Staffordshire’s first brand new high school for over 25 years has opened to pupils for the first time.
The £30 million John Taylor Free School in Tatenhill, Burton, has opened its doors to 210 year 7 (11-year-old) pupils.
The school has taken two years to build, and features a specially-built dance studio with a sprung floor, drama studio, outdoor changing pavilion, sports hall, state-of-the-art science rooms and a large Learning Resource Centre including the library.
The school has been built by Seddon Construction, project-managed and designed by Entrust, and funded by Staffordshire County Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
The school will eventually accommodate 1,550 pupils including 6th form, and is part of plans by Staffordshire County Council to add around 7,900 primary and secondary school places over the next five years, at an estimated cost of £151 million.
This will be a combination of building brand new schools, and working with head teachers and governors to expand existing schools where possible. Funding for these schools will be met by the county council, developer contributions, and the ESFA.
Over the past 5 years, the county council has added nearly 8000 primary and secondary school places, at a cost of £61 million. This investment has meant the majority of parents have been allocated the school of their choice at both a primary and secondary level.
County Councillor Philip White, Cabinet Member for Learning and Employability said:
“Today is the culmination of years of hard work, from the planning stages to the construction of the school. It is testament to the commitment of everyone involved in this project that we have been able to open to pupils today, and the new school looks fantastic. With more new schools needed across the county, our work will continue so we can ensure children in Staffordshire can learn in a good, local school.”
The brand new school is a partner within the John Taylor Multi-Academy Trust, which is behind John Taylor High School, rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. Head teacher of the new school Sue Plant said:
“I am delighted that we are opening with a full cohort and a waiting list for places. It demonstrates that parents want an education for their child which is based on both academic success and personal growth. JTMAT has a strong track record of excellence and we will continue this at John Taylor Free School.”
Peter Jackson, managing director of Seddon Construction, said:
“The opening of a new school is an exciting day for any community and this has been a great project for all involved, one of Seddon’s most significant to date, not least because it is the first new high school in the area this century.
“Working to the highest safety, quality and efficiency standards the project partnership has delivered something that will bring benefit to the community for many years to come.”
John Taylor Free School fast facts:
- Took 470 working days / 659 calendar days to build
- A total of 99,000 bricks have been used in the construction of the school
- The school houses a whopping 95 miles of cabling
- The school has 1,754 windows to keep things bright and airy
- A total of 210 pupils will be making the most of 12,250m2 floor space