THE Gateway Learning Community Trust [GLC] has announced that, after a number of failed attempts, it has now secured just under £6m of funding from the Government, Thurrock Local Authority and from its own resources to replace the existing building at the Tilbury Pioneer Academy.
Head of School at Pioneer, Dan George who was recently described by school inspectors as an ‘outstanding leader’ and has steered the school to be rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted for the first time in its history said ‘I couldn’t be more delighted for our pupils and their community. It has been a long and often frustrating process to secure the necessary funding and to maintain the current building, which are well past their best, but at last we can move forward with this exciting project’. Mr George went on to say ‘we are truly grateful to Thurrock Local Authority. Without their support I doubt we would have been able to access the larger funding available from central government’.
Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor James Halden, said ‘This site has had a troubled history. As the Manor School, it had some of the worse outcomes in the borough. The Gateway Learning Community then turned it into Tilbury Pioneer Academy and through their remarkable commitment to Tilbury, they have turned it around.
However, this still left them with some of the worse buildings and facilities in the borough. My department has worked hard with the GLC to lobby for the funds to transform this site. With Council funds, GLC funds and a large government contribution, we will now rebuild this as a 21st century school that the children of
Tilbury deserve. I commend the tour-de-force of persistence from the whole GLC team.”
Planning permission has been granted for the first phase of building: a four-classroom to accommodate years 5 and 6, with contractors due on site by the end of
Phase 2, which is a much larger project, is now fully funded and will involve the demolition of the current wooden junior building: constructed in 1936 with a 20-year life expectancy, and the infant building, opened in the 1980s, to be replaced with a 2- storey purpose-built, state-of-the-art academy, fit for the 21st Century.
The full project will be completed, ready for pupils and staff to occupy the new buildings, by the start of the summer term 2020.