Monday, 11 October 2021

Haltwhistle's state-of-the-art new school opens its doors

I was delighted to attend the opening of Haltwhistle’s brand new Primary Academy recently.  

After years of campaigning to ensure that West Tynedale’s children have access to state-of-the-art learning facilities, the new building was officially opened by children’s author and ex-pupil, Iona Daley.  


I joined Iona, Head Teacher Susie Drake, WISE Academies Chief Executive Zoe Carr, Haltwhistle County Councillor Ian Hutchinson, Northumberland County Council Cabinet Member Guy Renner-Thompson, and current Haltwhistle Primary Academy pupils Mason and Charlotte to explore and celebrate the fantastic new building and Children’s Centre.  


Since becoming MP in 2010, I have campaigned relentlessly to ensure that the most rural communities in our area receive investment in their schools. The opening of the new Haltwhistle Primary Academy building follows recent successes at Queen Elizabeth High School and Haydon Bridge High School, which have seen a full rebuild and a major refurbishment respectively. 


Thanks to funding from Northumberland County Council and WISE Academies, the trust that oversees the running of the school, Haltwhistle Primary pupils now have the opportunity to learn in these excellent new facilities, getting the very best education that they all deserve. 

Headteacher, Susie Drake said:

‘’We are delighted to have successfully moved into our new school site on Park Avenue, Haltwhistle.  We are already seeing the benefits of our first class educational facilities and our children are excited by their new modern classrooms and specialist teaching spaces. Our Early Years department provides a homely, creative setting to spark children's imagination alongside an inspiring location for outdoor adventures.

The additional capacity across school means that we are able to welcome new families who are looking for excellent teaching and a fantastic learning environment for their children.  This is a wonderful opportunity for children in the Haltwhistle area and we are excited about the future for our school community.’’

Zoe Carr, Chief Executive of WISE academies said:

"It is a great delight to officially open the remodelled Haltwhistle Primary School. The transformation to this building has been quite remarkable. Now the children of Haltwhistle have a school they can be proud of.  Bright open spaces, enhanced library provision, a spacious dance studio, and specialist art and music rooms are just a few of the features that pupils can now enjoy.

The outdoor play space for the youngest children, set against the beautiful Northumberland countryside, rivals any National Trust park. Whatsmore, it is exciting to be located on the same site as the Western Tynedale Children's Centre. Now local families have a fantastic facility that can provide many services both now and into the future."

Guy Renner-Thompson, Northumberland County Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said:

‘’This is a fantastic day for Haltwhistle and the surrounding area. The Council continues to invest in education in the west of Northumberland for the future of our children. After the community was so badly let down by the failed Bright Tribe Trust, our partnership on this project with WISE Academies is an examplar of how Councils can work Academies that could be replicated across the Country.’’