DELIGHTED staff and pupils are celebrating after ambitious plans for a brand-new multi-million pound school at Tibshelf were unveiled this week.
Tibshelf Community School will benefit from a £14.5m replacement building after council chiefs in Derbyshire confirmed they were backing the plans.
Coun Mike Longden, cabinet member for education at Derbyshire County Council, said he hoped the proposal would be rubber-stamped at a meeting in October and if given the go-ahead, the new school could be opened as early as September 2013.
Under the plans, the school will move from its current location on High Street to a site at Doe Hill Lane. The school currently has another site at North Wingfield for its Year 11 pupils but they would be taught at the new site along with the other year groups.
This week headteacher Peter Crowe welcomed the announcement and said that it was ‘fantastic news’.
“In this time of austerity, it’s amazing that it is going ahead,” he said.
“It has been on the cards for a long time. Tibshelf is an eclectic mixture of buildings from 1911 when it was first built up to the 1990s.”
In recent years, the school - which has more than 800 pupils - has had to use portakabins to accommodate its increasing number of students.
It had been hoped that the school, which includes numerous old and temporary buildings and suffers from overcrowding, would be replaced under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.
The policy, which was brought in by the last Government, aimed to breathe new life into dilapidated school buildings but the scheme was scrapped by new Education Secretary Michael Gove in July last year.
Chairman of Governors John Beckingham added that it was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ and would ‘make sure that our children have the best chance to learn and progress in 21st Century surroundings’.
And Coun Longden said that the county council was committed to replacing the school.
He said: “I’m really pleased that we are set to deliver on our promise of a new school for Tibshelf.
“I’m recommending the council’s cabinet approve plans for a £14.5m replacement school for 750 pupils at its meeting in October.
“Once approved, the council will press full speed ahead to build a new school with a target opening date of September 2013.
“I’m sure this news will be welcomed by parents, pupils and staff. It means students and staff can look forward to new state-of-the art facilities in which to learn and teach.”