New building could be open for 2016/17 as Education Funding Agency chooses South Molton as pilot school for new building initiative

South Molton Community College has secured £10million in funding to build a new state-of-the-art school building.

Principal Andrew Finney has been in talks with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) since taking over the role last August, and announced this week that the school has been chosen by the Department for Education as the first ‘sample school’ of 10 applicants in the South West to gain funding.

Potential contractors have been briefed and now have six weeks to submit initial plans for the new building, which will be erected where the tennis courts currently sit.

On-site work should begin in July, with the new 620-pupil school ready for September 2016.

The school is yet to sign any contracts with the EFA, but Mr Finney believes this offers an exciting future for the school.

“I want an environment fit for 21st century learners and teachers,” he said.

“We are a very successful school and the build will be future-proofed by allowing further expansion as demand increases.”

The building would also offer improved facilities for the community, he said.

Mr Finney stressed the importance of maintaining the tradition of the school in the new building, which will include an assembly hall and original features of the existing school, such as the shield outside and canteen bell.

The build would also include a new sports hall and canteen, as well as the latest wireless network, digital telephone system and decant process.

The current building, which has stood for more than 60 years, will be replaced with a new playing area and improved car and coach parking.

“At our school we focus on progressive learning but stay true to traditional values such as a full school assembly to start each week,” he added.

“It is extremely important to me that if the rebuild is to commence the students currently at our school do not have their education affected.

“I am happy that we have agreed in principle how the build could occur with minimum disruption.

“We have fantastic teachers and having a new facility will allow us to reinvigorate things.”

The community will be consulted throughout the design and planning process, Mr Finney said.

A parents’ forum will be held once the contractors’ plans have been submitted in six weeks’ time.