STUDENTS have settled into a new base as part of a £4.5m investment at their school.

A new sixth form centre at Haydon Bridge High School was declared officially open this week.

The centre is part of a major development, funded by Northumberland County Council, which will also see a vocational centre created as well as a new entrance area, and improvements to the main hall, library, sports hall changing, performing arts and learning hub areas.

The vocational centre will be a main feature of the school once created, and will be used as a teaching space to train young people and adults in construction, engineering, hairdressing and beauty therapy, and professional catering.

Darren Glover, headteacher at the school, said: “This investment and improvements to our buildings and site here at Haydon Bridge are going to make a huge difference.

"Our students and teaching staff are really looking forward to moving into their new and improved spaces, and seeing the benefits of a more modern and up to date learning and working environment.”

During a visit to the site this week, county council leader Peter Jackson, said: “The council is in the middle of one of the largest investment programmes in the country, with schemes that will help to boost the county’s economy, create new infrastructure for the future, and those such as this at Haydon Bridge, which will greatly improve education prospects for our young people across the whole of the county."

Wayne Daley, the council's deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services at the council, added: “Historically, this school was under threat and was neglected and forgotten by Bright Tribe, the discredited academy chain. However, we had faith in the staff, the pupils and the community to make it thrive, and took over the running of the school.

“We have been determined to invest and put structures and facilities in place that provide a sustainable future for our schools, high quality learning environments and ultimately the best possible outcomes for all students."

The council has also allocated £1.54m to support Haydon Bridge High School in developing a new curriculum, gaining support for leadership and management and securing training and development for staff.

In its most recent Ofsted visit, inspectors said that there were great improvements in key measures such as leadership, the quality of teaching and pupils attitudes.