First look at stunning £1.5million expansion plans for South Shields school St Wilfrid’s RC College

School leaders have given a sneak peek of what’s in store for pupils and staff at a South Shields secondary school after expansion plans were approved.

A computer-generated image of how the new extension of St Wilfrid's RC College in South Shields will look
A computer-generated image of how the new extension of St Wilfrid's RC College in South Shields will look

Six new classrooms, extra dining space along with storage and toilet facilities are all included.

But developers say green and sustainable features are key to extension plans, with solar panels, air-source heat pumps and other carbon-cutting features included.

A wildflower roof and an ‘attenuation’ pond to provide a home for wildlife, act as an education resource, and help with drainage are also included.

The school, part of the Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust (BCCET), is an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ school and as a result is often over-subscribed for pupil places.

Brendan Tapping, CEO of BCCET, noted: “Everyone agreed at the outset that we should aspire for a building that would reduce demand for energy and make more efficient use of renewables, to not just save money but also reduce our carbon footprint and do our small part, as we all face the global climate emergency.”

Brise Soleil solar shading, efficient lighting and a mixed-mode ventilation system are among other technical features which will help reduce the school’s impact on the environment.

Building work is expected to start in May.


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BCCET recruited a North East professional team to develop the building, led by project management consultancy Faithful+Gould.

The team includes Newcastle architecture firm Space, which worked alongside Jasper Kerr & Link MEP.

A building contractor has yet to be appointed.

Chris Holmes, director at Space, said: “We had to look at the existing buildings and accommodation and review how we could creatively configure a new extension on a very tight site. We always try to create buildings that will make a positive impact both to the end user and the wider community and environment.”


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Fran Craik, executive head at St Wilfrid’s, added: “It’s a relatively small extension but a lot of care and thought has gone into its design.

"The project team have really listened to our aspirations and shown great invention.

"We are delighted with the proposals, which we hope will provide a fantastic facility for our pupils now and in the future.”

The team said the idea for the pond, which will be near the school’s Memorial Garden, was born out of previous issues with drainage and localised flooding.


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St Wilfrid’s has received Government financial support, via the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), to expand current provision.

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