BEACON OF HOPE; 2,000 PUPILS MOVE INTO THEIR NEW SCHOOL.
PUPILS are starting lessons today in one of the country's largest and most modern secondary schools.
Around 2,000 students from Kenton School, Newcastle, moved into the new buildings yesterday and were treated to a tour of the facilities.
The school, in Drayton Road, has been given a complete makeover as part of the pounds 180m Building Schools for the Future project - the biggest ever investment in schools in Newcastle's history.
Covering an area the size of four football pitches, the school has a striking design made up of five main teaching blocks connected via a curved "street", resembling a central amphitheatre.
Head David Pearmain said: "Kenton is a school with nearly 50 years of proud service to the community and to the city of Newcastle, and an ethos which aims to nurture the highest standards of learning and achievement.
"We loved the old buildings because they were our home, but our new building will allow us to offer cutting edge education which will be breathtakingly modern in our aspirations for our students.
"Kenton will continue to transform young people's lives and the new Kenton will speed up that transformation and shine as a beacon of hope for our students' future and the future of our community."
The transformed school is home to a new performing arts centre, giving pupils and residents a wide range of drama, music and dance opportunities.
The school's part-Lottery funded sports facilities, which will also be available for community use, include a six badminton court sports hall, all weather sports pitch, a gym, fitness suite and dance studio, a sports cafe and dedicated PE classroom.
Pupil Lauren Rolph, 16, said: "The whole building is fantastic. In the old school we had great quality teaching, but now we have top of the range facilities to cater for the brilliant teaching."
Pupil Kevin Wu, also 16, said: "The new school is joined together and easier to navigate. It will help bring the students together. There are more facilities open to the public, too, which is great."
The original Kenton School was Newcastle's first comprehensive and was opened by former Deputy Prime Minister Herbert Morrison on March 17, 1961.
FRESH LOOKS: Pupils mill around the new communal areas of the new school; HAIR WE GO: Ross Jory, 18, a hairdressing student in the school's purpose built salon; FULL OF PRIDE: Deputy head teacher Val Wigham shows off the new school