Astley Community High School and Whytrig Middle School

Milestone groundbreaking ceremony for £50m Northumberland ‘super-school’ project

A groundbreaking ceremony took place to kickstart construction of the new Astley Community High School and Whytrig Middle School. 

The “super-school” is part of the council’s major investment in school facilities across the county and aims to transform education for young people in Seaton Valley for generations to come. 

BAM Construction will deliver the £50m contract that will see the two schools rebuilt on a new shared campus to create a state-of-the-art learning environment for over 1,000 students opening in September 2025. 

Sports facilities including a fitness studio, swimming pool and 3G pitch will be available for use by the wider community. Designed by Ryder Architecture, the building will also be net zero carbon in operation, keeping running costs to a minimum so more funding can be invested into teaching and learning. 

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet member for Inspiring Young People, commented: “It’s absolutely fantastic to stand here and see the plans for this amazing new super-school start to take shape.  

“This investment in our young people and the wider community will transform education and sports facilities in Seaton Valley for generations to come, bringing wide-ranging benefits to education, health and well-being.” 

Lewis, a Year 6 pupil at Whytrig Middle school, was among the pupils invited to take a tour of the site. He said: “It looks like an amazing site so far and I’ll be proud to come to school here. I’m most looking forward to the school fields and sports hall and we’ll be able to access larger areas to learn and play sports.  

“I’d like to be a builder or a structural engineer, so it’s exciting for me to see a working site and to see how it’s going to be transformed from a grassy field into a massive school. I think the future looks really bright here and there will be more opportunities.”  

John Barnes, Executive Headteacher, Seaton Valley Federation, added: “It’s a fabulous day, really very, very, exciting. The kids are absolutely buzzing. The scale of the operation is huge and we’re going to have such a brilliant facility, not just for the pupils but for the community as well.” 

Tony Fitzgerald, Construction Director, BAM, one of the country's largest education building contractors, concluded: “We are really proud to be working with Northumberland County Council to help deliver this exciting project in Seaton Valley. In terms of size, this is one of the biggest sites we’ve worked with and includes extensive sports facilities.”

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