STAFF at Rugby’s new secondary school have welcomed its first pupils.
Houlton School’s first cohort of 180 Year 7 pupils have started studying at the £39million, 20-acre campus based around the Grade II listed former Rugby Radio Station.
The site, which has opened as scheduled despite pandemic restrictions, features purpose-built Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Humanities buildings, a Sport England-compliant Sports Centre which will be available for community use, and a professional grade radio studio which will broadcast from the site, honouring the campus’ heritage as a global centre for communication.
The school’s Principal Michael McCulley said: “For our pupils, their parents and all of our staff, the chance to be part of the very first cohort at our brand-new school is something that is so special – we are certainly making history.
“As a new school, we have had the great privilege of building our community from scratch. We have taken so much inspiration from the iconic heritage and stunning architecture of our location, and have developed a campus featuring state-of-the-art facilities that will provide so many world class opportunities for our pupils.
“We are also incredibly proud to offer a curriculum that has been created around the needs of our pupils, with additional pastoral and wellbeing support provided in response to the pandemic and a commitment to tailoring our approach to provide the very best for our families.
“It has been absolutely wonderful to see everyone’s smiling faces. Our pupils have so much to look forward to during their time with us, and I know I speak for my entire team when I say that we cannot wait to see them all flourish and grow at Houlton.”
James Higham, CEO of the Transforming Lives Educational Trust – which also runs Ashlawn School and Henry Hinde Infant and Junior Schools – said: “From seeing the initial proposal to witnessing the school being built, brick by brick, this is an incredibly proud moment for everyone involved in the development of Houlton School – and something we have all been looking forward to for so long.
“This is the first step on the journey of an exciting school that will serve so many families across our community, for many generations to come.”
Johanne Thomas, Regional Director for Communities at Houlton developer Urban&Civic, added: “We pulled out all the stops to make today happen. Transforming a listed building into a school, through a global pandemic, has been a huge challenge and only possible through the commitment of our contractors and partnership with Michael and TLET.
“Seeing the excitement on the faces of pupils and their families today makes it all worthwhile and we are delighted to welcome them into our Houlton community.”