The new schools project has now entered the next phase of development with significant progress being made. Construction of Notre Dame School at Laguna Estate is progressing well, with this due to open this year, when the current Notre Dame will be demolished and building will start on the new St Anne’s School. Users of the area where the two new Comprehensive schools will be built are currently being reallocated. Demolition is expected to commence in Marc with construction there due to begin in April.
The Stage 2 designs for the two new schools at Waterport, which consist of the main layouts requested by the schools as worked on by the architects, are being studied by the contractors that are due to submit their bids within the next fortnight. At the same time, an extensive Stage 3 consultation has commenced over the last week. The Education Ministry’s design team met over four days with all the departmental heads of Westside and Bayside schools to discuss the detailed designs of each of the specialist rooms. A working group of teachers from both schools is being set up to look into the detail of the requirements for the general classrooms. In total about 50 members of the teaching staff have been involved in this detailed design process so far. They are in turn consulting their teams at grass roots level and have been invited to submit detailed feedback within room data sheet over the next few weeks. This will all lead to fine tuning of the specifications to ensure the best possible layouts and equipment for the needs of the teaching profession, students, and other staff and users.
Assessment of requirements and design work is now stepping up on the new St Martin’s, Bishop Fitzgerald and Governor’s Meadow schools, which will be located in the area currently occupied by Westside.
In parallel to the work on the buildings, working groups of Education Advisors and teachers at all levels have been or are being set up to study the operational requirements for the new schools, as well as the transitioning to increased nursery intake, co-education, key stage realignment and vocational and other curriculum issues. These groups will look at the challenges that these processes present, and how they can be tackled to ensure a smooth transition.
The plans for the new Comprehensive schools are available at the schools for teachers to view and comment upon and the design team will be calling at the schools next week in order to continue with this process.
The Chief Minister and the Minister for Education will also be visiting the schools over the coming days and weeks to engage directly with teaching and support staff, to discuss concerns and clarify issues.