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Work set to start on school's big revamp
6:20am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Local News
A GRAMMAR school should have its new science block by the spring – and a new sixth formbuilding by this time next year.
Southend Council has given planning permission for the £2.4million redevelopment project at Westcliff High School for Boys.
Headteacher Mike Skelly said work could start before Christmas.
He added: “We hope to move very rapidly and start work this autumn.
“We hope to have the science block finished by the spring term and then the sixth form by the autumn term next year.”
The school, in Kenilworth Gardens, already has the funding to build the two-storey sixth form block, which will offer study areas, two science labs, four classrooms and a preparation room for its post-16 pupils. The number of sixth-formers at the school has increased rapidly in recent times and now stand at at about 350.
At present, they are being taught in a basement and using a room above the sports pavilion for socialising.
The basement only has space for 77 teenagers and lacks an adequate common room or toilet and changing facilities for girls, who started coming to the sixth form in the past four years.
The existing Fifties science block is cold and its pitched roof leaks regularly.
Mr Skelly said: “It will make a big difference to the school, in terms of the sixth form.
“We are totally packed and the additional study space, science labs and social space is much needed.
“The science block is in need of restoration.”
Work will have to start before the end of the year for the school to qualify for the funding, from the Education Funding Agency.
The grammar school is one of the highest-achieving in the borough.
It recorded a 99.6 per cent overall pass rate in A-levels this summer, with nearly a quarter of all candidates achieving at least one A* grade.
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