Work starts on £2m extension

New library and sixth form centre

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Mike Hawley, KES bursar, Bennet Carr, headmaster, Martin Gallagher, of Deeley Construction, and site manager Graham Hill. (Submitted photo)

WORK on a new £2million library and sixth form centre at Stratford-upon-Avon’s King Edward VI School (KES) has begun, heralding the start of a new era for Shakespeare’s former school.

The three-storey building, which will hopefully be opened this autumn, will also include new classrooms, IT suites and will be the new home of the school’s English Department.

Money for the project has been provided by the Department for Education’s Condition Improvement Fund.

Bennet Carr, headmaster at KES, said: “This is a vital development in the evolution of the school.

“We currently have to rent space from the council at Elizabeth House for offices and our sixth form study, but this new building will enable us to repatriate these functions to within the school site. At the moment our library is located in a temporary building, which limits how many students can use it at a time, it’s not ideal and it’s a pretty sad state of affairs for Shakespeare’s school.

“The purpose-built new building will offer state-of-the-art facilities and allow us to convert two rooms at the school into labs. Twenty per cent of our science lessons are not currently taught in labs, but this work will allow us to teach all these lessons within labs.

“We will also be creating a new design studio within the school, utilising the latest technology, thanks to funding secured from the Wolfson Foundation and one of our old Edwardians.

“The new building itself will cost £1.5million to complete, though with the new science labs and the design studio, it will come to more than £2million overall. “We’re lucky really because the site where the building is being constructed has its own entrance so there will be very little disruption to teaching at KES, and we are also working closely with the RSC.”

The new building is being constructed by Coventry-based Deeley Construction which is also building Fordham House on Birmingham Road, Stratford.

Martin Gallagher, managing director of Deeley Construction, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to deliver what is a major investment for King Edward VI School.

“While the building work is taking place to the rear of the main school building, we have still had to make provisions for the fact that there are pupils and staff in close proximity each day. “We work regularly in educational environments, so we know only too well what needs to be put into place.”

This is the latest school extension to be approved.

Projects are also planned at Kineton High, Shipston High, Ettington Primary, and Welford Primary, while Shottery St Andrew’s is set to be relocated to a new site.