Pupils at one of the country’s newest schools should get ready to embrace a ‘wonderful educational opportunity’, according to a senior cabinet minister who visited the school alongside Rugby MP Mark Pawsey.
Conservative Party co-chairman and Cabinet Minister without Portfolio, Amanda Milling MP, and Schools Minister Nick Gibb, visited the Houlton School development in Rugby last week as it prepares to welcome its first Year 7 students this September. The school is a new 11-18 Academy and has received funding from the Department of Education (DfE). Its creation is part of a 6200-home urban extension to the town being delivered by master developer Urban&Civic (U&C). The school is housed in the historic Grade II-listed former Rugby Radio Station, giving the school an iconic and unique setting at the heart of the Houlton development, which is being overseen by master planners Urban&Civic.
During the visit the Conservative co-chairman and the Schools Minister praised the team who have safely worked throughout the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that the school is able to open in September. They also highlighted the importance of good education facilities to the Government’s Levelling Up agenda, which Houlton is delivering with both the new secondary school and the existing St Gabriel’s Primary school, which opened in 2018.
The Houlton School will host purpose-built science, technology, engineering and maths and humanities buildings, alongside specialist broadcast and radio facilities and a sports centre available for community use. This is possible thanks to the partnership between developer U&C, the Transforming Lives Educational Trust and the DfE, who signed the school’s funding agreement.
Minister Gibb said he was impressed by the potential of the school and the vision of the people behind the project, including Principal Designate Michael McCulley.
Speaking during the visit, Conservative Party co-chairman and Cabinet Minister without Portfolio, Amanda Milling MP said:
“As part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda, we want to give every child in this country a world class education. We need schools and projects like Houlton School and its staff to ensure we can deliver on those aims, not just here in Rugby but right across the country. Pupils coming here in a couple of months will have a wonderful educational opportunity and I wish them all the best of luck for the new school year.”
Schools Minister Nick Gibb added:
“The DfE gave backing to this plan because we believe it will deliver everything pupils in this area need. We have promised to invest to ensure our schools delivering the biggest funding increase in schools for a decade and giving every pupil across England a funding boost. It is project like Houlton School which show we’re on the right path to success, especially as we come out of the pandemic and help every child reach their potential. I am sure the facilities here and the staff who will work in them can deliver an excellent education for every child who attends.”
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey said he was thrilled to see the development near completion.
“I’ve been following the development of Houlton School closely and it has been great to see the project go from concept to now just being a few weeks away from welcoming a new generation of youngsters to what will be a world class school. It is also a great example of how well managed development can deliver new facilities and infrastructure alongside new homes.”
“I am very pleased that Amanda and Nick had the opportunity to visit Rugby and see the great work taking place here. This new school is a fantastic example of how the Government is investing in our young people by backing ambitious projects, and I know that the hard work which has gone into making the school a reality will be appreciated by the generations of young people who will get a great education there, starting this September.”
Richard Coppell, Group Director of Development at Urban&Civic commented:
“We were delighted to show-case Houlton School and what we have achieved across the wider Houlton development through the significant investment we have received from Government. Through the DfE and Homes England, £70m of loan and repayable grant has enabled us to construct early a 2.5km link road into Rugby and the transformation of the former Rugby Radio Station Listed building into Houlton School. Through the ongoing support of our local MP, Mark Pawsey, we are proud to be putting Rugby on the map for delivering successful infrastructure-led housing development.”