AFTER years of funding setbacks and disappointments, the community of Tilbury finally welcomed the opening of Tilbury Pioneer Academy’s new building.
Amidst the continuing gloom of the Covid pandemic, the excitement generated by the opening gave staff and pupils alike a moment to think positively about the future as they entered the gleaming corridors and classrooms of their state-of-the-art building, a far cry from the building they vacated- a single story wooden structure opened in 1936 with a life expectancy of 20 years: 83 years later it has served the community of Tilbury well but it’s had its day.
The new building has been constructed in two phases at a total cost of £7m. The funding for the project has come from the Government, Thurrock Local Authority and the Gateway Learning Community. It provides pupils with 21st Century accommodation to learn, grow and develop with easy access to IT and specialist art facilities to help develop pupils’ creativity and imagination.
Dan George, Pioneer’s Headteacher, supported by the GLC, took over the former Manor Primary School in 2012 after it was heavily criticised by Ofsted and placed into Special Measure. From that low point, its journey has been remarkable. It is now judged by Ofsted to be a good school with many features inspectors have described as outstanding.
Pioneer’s provision for mathematics has been granted lead status and has been recognised for its achievements and quality as far afield as China. Similarly its provision for English has been transformed through partnerships with the Royal Opera House and the National Literacy Trust. The quality of provision for early readers has also been recognised as Pioneer is now a Read Write Inc Badge School.
Tilbury Pioneer Academy is now heavily oversubscribed with waiting lists in each year group.
As he welcomed the staff and pupils to the new building, Dan George said that he couldn’t be more proud of what has been achieved and that the building exemplifies the culture of high expectations that has been established at Pioneer.
The opening of the new building represents another significant investment in Tilbury which in recent years has included the opening of the Gateway Academy, the Amazon Fulfilment Centre as well as the Tilbury 2 port development.
This regeneration is to be further enhanced with the opening of the new medical centre in the heart of Tilbury in 2023 and the developments linked to the £23m Tilbury Town’s Fund.