Northern Education Trust

Working to fulfil the potential of young people

New STEM Building at Thorp Academy Officially Opened

19th Jan 2016

New STEM Building at Thorp Academy Officially Opened

Over 80 guests attended the formal opening of the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) building at Thorp Academy in Ryton today (15 January 2016).

The new state-of-the-art facilities are the best available in the area, which will make an enormous contribution to the academy?s continuing progress. Since Thorp Academy was formed in September 2014, when it became sponsored by the Northern Education Trust, students have achieved some of the best A-level successes in the borough, with results last year five per cent higher than the national averages for students achieving A*-B grades.

Executive Principal, Jonathan Morris, who opened the event together with Head of Academy, Karen Hailes, spoke about the importance of STEM subjects to the UK economy and the need to encourage more students to become involved at a local level.

Richard Calvert, Director General of the Finance and Corporate Directorate of the Department for Education was very interested to see the completed building as it was the first school in the north east to be built by Sir Robert McAlpine after the contractor won the contract to build a batch of seven schools in the area, funded via the Government?s Priority Schools Building Programme funding, Round 3.

Department for Education, Schools Minister, Lord Nash said:

?Our investment in school buildings across the country is transforming the learning environment for tens of thousands of pupils and their teachers.

?The re-opening of the first new building at Thorp Academy is a key milestone for the Priority School Building Programme in the North East.

?Ensuring all children have access to the best possible schools and facilities is just one part of our commitment to help all young people reach their potential regardless of their background. These buildings will provide modern, fit-for-purpose schools for pupils for many years to come.?

Ian Kershaw, Chief Executive of the Northern Education Trust introduced Estelle Morris, Baroness Morris of Yardley, who gave the keynote address. She said:

?The future prosperity of the UK is in part dependent on young people choosing to study STEM-related subjects so that they can tackle the global challenges which are already knocking on our door, such as sustainable economic development. STEM subjects are vital for a large number of careers so it is very exciting to see these wonderful new facilities which are sure to make a huge impact in providing wider career choices for students, which in turn, will help to regenerate the local economy and the country.?

Mr Kershaw was extremely impressed by the new facilities at Thorp Academy. He added:

?As we continue to build on our reputation for quickly improving schools through a combination of strong, visionary leadership, a commitment to the best teaching and learning and highly effective governance, the new STEM building will be a fantastic support to our work in delivering a high standard of education and establishing the academy at the heart of the community.?

The STEM building covers three floors and contains 11 fully-fitted science labs on the top floor. On floor one is the mathematics department with 11 classrooms, two ICT suites and two seminar rooms, whilst at ground floor level there is a double height cafeteria to cater for the whole school plus two specialist technology /engineering workshops, a construction area to teach building trades and two food technology rooms as well as a textile room.

Local charitable trust, The Reece Foundation, whose objective is to increase the long term and sustainable prosperity of the North East of England primarily through the promotion of engineering and manufacturing, has provided over ?30k of funding to equip the engineering suite with the latest CNC milling machinery.