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Wigan’s BSF vision gets underway with the handover of Abraham Guest
Friday 26th February, 2010

Wigan’s first new high school in almost 30 years is about to be unveiled with the handover of the new Abraham Guest high school in Orrell.

The school will be officially handed over to the authority by constructor, Willmott Dixon on 1 March 2010.

Abraham Guest is the first secondary school to be built under Wigan Council’s multi-million pound Schools for the Future programme and it gives an exciting glimpse of what the schools in the borough’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme may look like.

As a pathfinder school, Abraham Guest has enabled the council to test its approach to transforming education in the borough in advance of the BSF programme starting and the results are impressive.

The £22m school boasts new, state of the art facilities including a public lending library, performance studio, gymnasium, 4-court sports hall and a third generation multi-use games area, which has been designed to Sports England standards.

Headteacher, Roy Caslake says: “We’re all very excited about moving into the new school at Easter. The facilities really are state of the art and will be truly inspirational for our pupils.”

Pupils and staff have worked with the constructor throughout the build period to help design their new school and have had their say in everything from the landscaping to the food on their new, bistro-style cafeteria menu.

And the 21st century has truly arrived with a cashless catering system - pupils will be able to buy their lunch using their own fingerprint.

Classrooms are a mixture of traditional classrooms and flexible learning spaces with break out areas. The school is divided into two multi-storey learning blocks, one for core subjects and one for specialist subjects. The two blocks are joined by a light, airy atrium area, which acts as an ‘inside-outside’ space where pupils can relax and socialise or enjoy a bite to eat.

The school also has a single storey sports and music department, public lending library and extensive adult learning facilities, all of which will be available for use by the wider community.

Wireless-enabled technology will allow ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning. Pupils will be able to access their work via a range of fixed, mobile and handheld devices wherever they are in the building.

The new school has also been built with sustainability in mind. ‘Grey’ water will be harvested from a ‘knowledge garden’, which will capture rainfall and feed from the toilets and washrooms in the science block. This water will be naturally filtered through a reed bed and fed back into the system and reused, with the remainder being dispersed using a sustainable drainage system.

Cabinet Champion for Children and Young People, Cllr Susan Loudon says:
“Today really does mark the start of a bright future for education in Wigan. The new school and facilities show how not only pupils, but also the wider community will benefit from the investment being made to transform education in the borough.”

“This is only the start of our BSF journey and Abraham Guest is a great example of how the council’s vision to improve education in Wigan can become a reality.”

Pupils and staff will move into the new school at Easter.

For further information, please contact Josie Neil on 01942 827369.


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