A £2.65m project to build a new school in Haltwhistle is edging closer.

The former Haltwhistle Middle School is being upgraded to create a new primary school for the town, while also continuing to provide a space for community activities and its children’s centre.

WISE Academies, which runs the schools, ended middle school provision in September 2019 and extend the age range of the first school to offer primary provision.

The building will keep its large classrooms, Northumberland County Council announced. Additional toilets are being added to each floor, and pupils will be able to access art facilities and a multi-purpose hall space.

he ground floor will welcome the youngest of the school's children through its nursery and reception, and will provide open space and learning areas.

However, earlier this year, concerns were raised over the planned removal of the first school’s existing gymnasium and learning centre, removing the school’s sports facilities.

Coun. Michael Ridley, who is also a member of the Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure Centre committee, said there had been suggestions to offer the centre’s sports facilities to the school.

Zoe Carr, chief executive of Wise Academies said: “This development is a really great step forward for Haltwhistle Primary Academy. Having recently welcomed back students it is clear to see how eager they are to learn and they can't wait to get into their new school building.

The contractors have returned to the site after a brief delay due to Covid-19.

"We have some great ideas for the interior of the school and are looking forward to seeing these come to fruition in the next few months," Ms Carr added.

"We are certainly looking forward to the day we can open the doors to our pupils and staff so they can continue their learning in what will be a fantastic new facility for them.

"We know that the Haltwhistle community have a significant interest in this school development. The considerable financial investment that both Northumberland County Council and WISE Academies are making will ensure that the school remains at the heart of the community by providing facilities for not only our pupils, but also the wider local community.

Coun. Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, added: “This refurbishment project is a great opportunity for the town. It will bring the youngest of our children in one dedicated space together to learn and build relationships.

“Having recently walked around the site it is clear to see that the space will offer these children and the staff a great opportunity to make the most of their learning environment.”