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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Nuclear industry cash for study into single site campus for schools

Whitehaven's proposed multi-million pound campus is a step closer to becoming reality.

Sellafield MD Tony Price photo
Tony Price

A feasibility study into the scheme is now fully funded after the nuclear industry announced £250,000 of support.

This cash comes from three organisations: Sellafield Ltd, Nuclear Management Partners and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The money will be combined with another grant of the same amount approved by Cumbria County Council last month.

The study will look at how the Whitehaven Academy – formerly Whitehaven School – St Benedict’s and Mayfield School can be moved to one site in the town.

Last year the county council announced proposals for a £60m “educational village” bringing the three schools together.

These looked to be on hold after Whitehaven School became an academy in January but the plans are still under discussion.

The cost of the new campus has now been estimated at £35m.

Tony Price, managing director at Sellafield, said: “I am delighted that we are able to support the county council and our other stakeholders in pushing this scheme forward. There is much work to do, and I cannot second guess the feasibility study, but the potential of the scheme to transform education in Whitehaven is very exciting.

“Raising the aspirations of young people and giving them the best possible start is something that matters a great deal to me – not least because the work to decommission Sellafield will last for more than the next 100 years, and we are going to need skilled, qualified and bright individuals for generations to come.”

Nuclear Management Partners’ general manager Dr Ian Hudson added: “I hope this funding package for a feasibility study, is the first step towards developing a new education facility for Whitehaven.”

Stewart Young, the Labour leader of Cumbria County Council, was pleased with the news.

He said: “The next steps will be to review the findings of the feasibility studies and develop a business case and funding package for the whole project. There is a huge amount still do to do, but this is a significant statement of intent from all partners involved and it gives me real confidence that our vision will become reality.”

Jamie Reed, Labour MP for Copeland, also welcomed the news.

He said: “I am delighted that the nuclear funding partners have agreed to help Cumbria County Council pay for this. The feasibility study is a vital first step down the road of building a campus which will raise aspirations for the next generation of young people in the area.

“We can create the best secondary education campus in the region and finally start to unlock the potential of our area as a centre for excellence in education, as it is a centre of excellence for nuclear.”

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