Following years of planning and an investment of £33 million, the newly completed Hope Academy
– expected to be confirmed as the most sustainable High School in the country - was officially opened in Newton-Le-Willows this week.
Performing the opening ceremony were representatives from the Academy’s three sponsors, namely The Archbishop of Liverpool (from the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool), The Bishop of Warrington (representing The Church of England Diocese of Liverpool), and The Vice Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University, who unveiled a plaque commemorating the occasion.
Special guest on the day was Liverpool FC Star, Martin Kelly, who attended one of the Academy’s predecessor schools, St.Aelred’s Catholic Technology College.
The joint Catholic and Church of England Academy, which replaces both Newton Community High School and St Aelred’s Catholic Technology College, took two years to construct, and is sponsored by the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool, the Church of England Diocese of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University.
The Academy, which is the only school in the country with sustainability as its specialism, is currently awaiting its final BREEAM rating, which is expected to confirm it as the most sustainable High School in the country. The Academy’s design has already received wide acclaim, having won the Innovation in Sustainability award at the 2009 Excellence in Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Awards. Wind turbines, a biomass boiler, rainwater harvesting system and sustainability garden are just some of the Academy’s special features.
Speaking at the event, Martin Kelly said: “The Academy is fantastic, it’s got so many great facilities, including great sports halls and pitches. I’ve been really impressed with it all and I just feel excited for the kids who will get to come here.”
Representing the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool, The Archbishop of Liverpool, Patrick Kelly, said “Merseyside has a school to be proud of in Hope Academy. Given its commitment to sustainable development, it couldn’t have been better named.”
Representing The Church of England Diocese of Liverpool, The Bishop of Warrington, Richard Blackburn, said “Hope Academy represents the vision, collaboration and commitment of those who worked so hard to create a sure foundation for our young people. When communities come together, great things can be achieved.”
Representing Liverpool Hope University, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerald Pillay said: “To see the vision for Hope Academy finally realised is extremely gratifying. It represents a ground-breaking educational environment and we look forward to supporting the school in its exciting future.”
Principal John Gannon, said: “At the heart of our vision and Christian ethos is the spiritual and moral development of a community. We want to create a community of confident, engaged, moral and responsible young people, and we are determined to do so. Today’s official opening is a celebration of what we have achieved so far, and what we plan to achieve in the future.”
Construction Manager from Willmott Dixon, Alistair Brymer, said: “Hope Academy is by far the most sustainable and environmentally responsible building project I’ve worked to develop. Every angle of sustainability is considered and addressed, and I’m incredibly proud to have been involved in its creation.”
At a cost of £33 million, Hope Academy, which replaced both Newton Community High School & St Aelred’s Catholic Technology College, provides one of the most innovative, high quality and well equipped learning environments in the country, including 12 outdoor interactive learning spaces, a kitchen garden, science garden, sustainability garden and attenuation pond, and a wireless internet system covering the whole site enabling fully accessible outdoor working.
Hope Academy is a joint Catholic and Church of England Academy, sponsored by the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool, the Church of England Diocese of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University, and welcomes children from all faiths and none.
Its building is one of the most sustainable and highly specified education buildings in the country. Wind turbines provide off-peak electricity, the heating and hot water is to be generated by renewable sources on site and 20% of the building and 70% of the external landscaping is made from recycled materials.