Bishop Paul officially opened the new buildings on October 22nd 2015.
Bishop Paul toured St Hilda’s CE High School in the morning joining in a whole school celebration before blessing the chapel and touring the school prior to the official opening. He then spent the afternoon with staff and pupils at Archbishop Blanch CE High School where he opened the school and toured their facilities, blessing the chapel and closing the visit with a whole school celebration.
Bishop Paul said "First we shape our buildings, then they shape us". These words of Winston Churchill apply well beyond Parliament. For our schools too the environment is crucial. Good education is not about fact cramming nor is it simply about inspirational teaching. We know that attractive, well designed buildings can have a really positive impact on students' learning. That’s why I am so pleased to be officially opening two fine church school buildings today. Both Archbishop Blanch and St Hilda CE High Schools are excellent examples of a fully rounded church school matching high academic standards with deep pastoral care, enriched by a strong faith-based ethos and a clear understanding of Christ’s teaching. As I open their buildings and bless their chapels I pray for all those who study, teach and learn in these fine schools.”
Heather Duggan, Headteacher at Archbishop Blanch said “This is such an exciting time for everyone involved in the life of Archbishop Blanch – pupils, parents, and teachers alike. We are so excited to mark this new beginning in such a special way. We are especially delighted to be having our new prayer room blessed by the Bishop of Liverpool. We strongly believe in instilling Christian values amongst our girls, and this is an occasion which our school can value forever”.
Headteacher at St Hildas Eleanor Benson said “Staff and pupils feel the same way about the work of the architect and the contractors: the quality is outstanding. Everyone who enters St Hilda’s comments on the awe-inspiring atrium. The building is airy, light and uplifting It is wonderful working environment. It makes the most of our unique location on the edge of Sefton Park.”
The School chapel contains a stained-glass window by Deborah Lowe, specially commissioned for the new building. “The School’s founders were Anglican nuns, the Sisters of the Church,” said Eleanor Benson. “In this very different era, the same Christian faith underlies the work of the School.”
“Both Archbishop Blanch and St Hilda CE High Schools are excellent examples of a fully rounded church school”
Archbishop Blanch is the only Church of England girls' school in the city and offers all students a dynamic place to learn in a caring, Christian way. They care for approximately 700 girls in years 7-11 and have a mixed sixth form of approximately 248 students. Our core Christian values of Community, Compassion, Forgiveness, Friendship, Thanksgiving and Trust permeate every aspect of life together.
The impressive building was designed by Sheppard Robson and built by Willmott Dixon.
Boasting a brand new theatre, recording and dance studios together with state of the art sports facilities, this is an exciting move for the school. For the first time the school has its own sports facilities including both synthetic and hard standing games areas and two amphitheatres for communal performances.
St Hilda’s new building, right next to the former premises, is on land where redundant council offices once stood. The site was made available by the City Council, which also financed the project from the Mayor’s Fund.
The School, founded in 1894, was originally co-educational. However it quickly decided to specialize in girls’ education, and for almost a century the School was single-sex. Boys were admitted to the Sixth Form in 1987, but it is only now that there is a mixed entry to Year 7.
The mixed entry increases choice for parents in Liverpool. There are three Church of England secondary schools in the city. One is for boys only, and one is for girls: and St Hilda’s which accepts both genders. Since September, St Hilda’s Year 7 includes mixed quads and twins who can all attend school together.