Opening of Sports Centre and Teaching Block and Jack Petchey Cycle/Fitness track.

Thursday May 13th 2010

jp_speechweb.jpgToday Jack Petchey OBE was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the brand new £6 million state of the art facilities for sport and the new teaching block at Highams Park school built by Kind & Co.

The teaching block and the cycle/fitness circuit will be named after Jack Petchey in recognition of the £50,000 donation the Jack Petchey Foundation made towards the cost of the project. As a voluntary aided school the school had to raise 10% of the overall project costs the rest coming from the government. Donations were received from many sources with the Jack Petchey foundation being the largest contributor. The school has been involved with the Jack Petchey foundation since it started, primarily with the foundation's achievement awards scheme and there have been many winners from the school over this time.

The new facilities are some way towards the vision the governing body has for redeveloping the school and its buildings to make it fit for teaching and learning in the 21st century. The school is anticipating further developments as part of the government's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.

The headteacher, Mr Anthony Perrett, said "The new facilities will substantially improve the experience of children in the school and people in the local community both now and in the future. We are delighted and grateful that the Jack Petchey Foundation has been so generous to the school and helped us build these wonderful facilities."



The Jack Petchey teaching block has just received the 'Green Apple Award' for being an eco-friendly building


Facts and Information about the buildings and Green Technology

Ground source heat pumps buried 100m deep in the ground are used to heat the entire sports centre

Both the sports centre and the Jack Petchey block are extremely well insulated to conserve energy.


Both buildings have natural air conditioning created by wind catchers on the roof. Extra natural light is channelled into the classrooms and corridors of the Jack Petchey block by Sun Pipes. All artificial lighting is automatically turned on & off.


Sports Centre

Special sound insulating buildings blocks to reduce noise and echo in the sports hall

Ceiling and lighting high enough in the main sports hall to meet international standards for badminton, basketball and trampolining

Utility hall floor is sprung for dance and martial arts


The Cycle/Fitness Circuit is designed to finish off the ground work as a sports park and is a cutting edge feature for schools to help the school and community and can be used for cycling or running

State of art fitness room with whole body multi-gym equipment.


Jack Petchey Teaching Block

10 outstanding teaching rooms with ICT facilities

New staffroom

Contains an innovative pupils service area, including a base for Heads of Years, Learning Mentors, medical and pupil administration, and meeting rooms.

Specially built community room as a focus to bring together schools activities and the wider community.

The project cost over £6 million with the school having to raise nearly 10% of that total and took 2 years to build. Go to our Building Projects section of our Downloads page for a PDF document.

Below is a gallery of more pictures from the day.


Building Schools for the Future (BSF)


The Coalition government cancelled BSF for Waltham Forest as part of its cut backs.  Plans for improved accommodation at Highams Park school were casualties of this cancellation. On 5 July 2010 the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, announced that following a review, the Building Schools for the Future programme was to be scrapped.


The words below have been left for viewers to see how BSF was expected to impact Highams Park School.

Soon we will be working with the Local Authority to devise plans for the further development of the school under the government initiative "Building Schools for the Future" (BSF). The government claimed that every secondary school in the country would be rebuilt or refurbished to 21st Century Standards and vast sums of money were earmarked for it. The programme from central government is being rolled out in waves and Waltham Forest was one of the first areas to be awarded some money ... over £100million... for the Walthamstow area as part of wave 1. Highams Park is deemed to be in Chingford and is part of wave 5 and the planning for that is going on now.

It requires from the local authority a strategic plan for the area involving proposals for education developments in all the secondary schools in Chingford, Leyton and Leytonstone.

The Local Authority have asked us to increase our year 7 intake from the current number of 215 to 240. They have also asked us to run a 6th form of about 400. This will be in two or three years time and not in the immediate future. Even so there are massive implications for the school buildings which are simply not big enough at present to cope with those numbers. The current project of a maths and pupil services block and a sports centre is only meeting existing needs and not any expansion of numbers.

The proposal also asks us to embark on an integration programme with the Joseph Clark school on a similar basis to the existing programme with Whitefields where some pupils with visual impairment will join some of our mainstream classes accompanied by a member of staff from the special school. This will also have implications for the school buildings in terms of access. We continue to strengthen our partnership with Whitefields school which benefits us by being able to tap into their expertise in special education and them by controlled integration into mainstream classes for a number of pupils.

To benefit from the opportunities BSF provides we are being asked to write a strategic plan for the future of the school, then to demonstrate what parts of the existing building need to be replaced and what parts need to be simply refurbished. Our school plans must be consistent with the local authority plans if our proposals are to be accepted as part of the wave 5 BSF programme. Local Authority support is essential and they have a huge say in the scale of allocation that we will eventually receive.

As you may recall, the maths block and sports centre project now being built under a different funding stream, was designed to be the first part of a long term strategic plan to rebuild the school to meet our future needs as we saw them. The core values of the school were the major influence on the strategy used when prioritising pupil services, new maths rooms and new sports facilities. The next priority area for complete rebuilding is the science and technology block. We sent a high quality outline proposal to the borough last year when it became clear that we would be part of their wave 5 BSF programme to ensure they understood how we saw things developing. We felt it was important that they understood that we had a powerful strategy to achieve a secure and sustainable future for the school as a local high achieving comprehensive at the heart of the community. Our core values underline our determination to remain a comprehensive secondary school that serves the community of Highams Park and guiding our young people to become good, successful citizens for the future.

The overview of the next stage of the development of the school site prioritizes the replacement of facilities for science and technology, rationalised catering facilities which meet the needs of the pupils whatever their age, new administration areas, adequate indoor social areas for pupils when the weather is bad especially for year 7 pupils in transition, new sixth form facilities and refurbishment  of all other departmental areas to provide adequately for the expected numbers in line with the borough requirement.

We think we need a project worth in the region of £20million to complete the work necessary to bring the rest of the school up to the mark. We have an active group of pupils heavily involved with the design process as part of a borough wide project to gain the views of stakeholders known as JoinedUpDesignForSchools. They are doing an excellent job and their findings are posted regularly on the website. To meet their exacting requirements, our final allocation for BSF cannot be less than the £20million we think will be necessary.

Click here to download a PDF file of the images called "Our plans for future re-building of the school". 

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