Expansion plans approved for South Shields catholic school

St Wilfrid's headteacher Brendan Tapping
St Wilfrid's headteacher Brendan Tapping

A South Tyneside school is set to expand – after council bosses approve building work plans.

St Wilfrid’s RC College South Shields, is hoping to become the borough’s third secondary school to take the academy route – giving it more autonomy over its future and finances.

It will follow in the footsteps of Whitburn C of E Academy and St Joseph’s RC Academy in Hebburn.

And now South Tyneside Council’s planning department has given the Temple Park Road school the go ahead to create a new teaching two-storey block which will be connected to the existing science, technology and art departments.

The successful application will enable the school to bid for Government funding to finance the new extension.

The application stated: “The proposed extension will provide replacement teaching spaces that will help increase the standard of teaching accommodation throughout the majority of the school and will also hopefully assist with the timetabling of lessons and address areas of concern in regard to condition.”

Headteacher Brendan Tapping said: “The planning stage has been approved by South Tyneside Council and we are now moving on to the next stage, which will be to apply for funding.”

The decision for the school to apply for academy status was met with mixed feelings in July.

Jill McManus, divisional secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in South Tyneside, said that becoming an academy was no guarantee a school will prosper.