A big event happened this week.
We saw the first designs of our new school building.
In an exciting two hour meeting, the architects talked us through their initial ideas for a compact, state of the art, 21st century school for 900 pupils with suites of subjects strategically positioned around the campus. But the most important feature was that they had listened to our “design drivers”. We told them that we wanted a modern environment but that the essential components of the Marden DNA were not for sale: Carpe Diem, teaching and learning come first, everyone matters…you know the kind of thing. And it was thrilling to see that they were all there, but even better than they are now. So in September 2016 we will open the doors to brand new facilities, containing far superior opportunities for academic study and ( here’s the big point) fully integrated provision for technology, sport and the arts so that the extracurricular life of the school will flourish even more.
So these are exciting times: new building,record breaking GCSE results, great OFSTED report and increasing support of prospective parents. Remarkably, we’ve admitted the equivalent of one extra class by mid year transfer since September so the word about us is definitely getting round.
And all of this in the midst of a local authority review of school provision. I don’t envy the weight of responsibility carried by North Tyneside Council. The decisions it makes will determine the education of our young people for decades to come. However, I will say that in my discussions with the council, I have stressed our strong desire for a Marden sixth form. With the increase in the school leaving age, the main point of educational transition will shift from 16 to 18. This is massively significant and we at Marden want to keep our brilliant students for a couple of years longer so that we can make sure that they get the best possible start to university or the world of work.
And this should happen in a great new building.