Pupils and teachers are benefiting from a £450,000 Derby City Council investment to create improved facilities for practical design and technology skills and sport and fitness activities at a Derby School.

Councillor Sarah Russell, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is to open the Southgate Options Centre on Brighton Road today (Wednesday 11 January).

The Southgate Options Centre is a new building that forms part of Derby’s Kingsmead School. The Kingsmead School provides education for students who have experienced challenges in mainstream education and caters for young people aged 11 to 16. The school has four sites in Derby, including: Bridge Street, The Firs Centre, Wisgreaves Road site and the Southgate Centre. In a recent OFSTED report the School was praised for the quality of education it provides to Derby’s young people.

Refurbishment of the Victorian building, more recently used as a youth centre, has included the creation of a new entrance area and reconfiguration of internal spaces to make the building more suitable for a 21st Century curriculum.  New energy efficient double glazed windows have been installed, access improvements for people with disabilities have been made and improved lighting, heating and decoration completed the project.

Southgate Options Centre boasts improved space for design and technology including building and motor skills, sport, fitness, childcare, music, cookery and additional general classroom space. It is used every day by students from all of the Kingsmead School sites and it has provided a much needed boost to the range of options Kingsmead students can study. The Councils’ Alvaston Locality team has already used the centre for Youth Service sessions and it is also being used by a local karate club for evening sessions.

Comments from students using the new Southgate Options Centre include:

“It’s great to come here to do Options! You get to do practical activities that you can use in the world of work.”

“Southgate Options Centre has given me a greater chance to succeed.  I love coming here.”

Councillor Sarah Russell, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

“I am delighted that the refurbishment works are now complete at The Kingsmead Schools Southgate Options Centre. This is an exciting scheme to improve the learning opportunities for the students by widening the options available to them particularly with design technology, sport, childcare and practical subjects. The new facility will certainly help enable us to continue to improve teaching and learning for Derby children.”

Sue Bradley, Headteacher at The Kingsmead School, said:

“The governors, pupils, parents and staff are extremely pleased with the fantastic new learning environment on the Southgate-Wisgreaves campus of The Kingsmead School. This new environment is already making a significant difference to our children and providing them with much better learning opportunities.”

Funding for the project has included £200,000 from the Schools Capital Programme, £200,000 for window replacement from the Councils Corporate Capital Programme and a £50,000 contribution from The Kingsmead School.

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Published: Wednesday 11th January 2017