08:49 Wednesday 22 January 2014

New school facilities in the pipeline

Written byJOANNA CRAIG

Head teacher Steve Bardon at Ryecroft Middle School Head teacher Steve Bardon at Ryecroft Middle School

ROCESTER pupils could benefit from a brand-new school after JCB entered discussions to buy up more land in the village.

The proposed deal could see the digger giant purchase land currently housing Ryecroft Middle School, in Denstone Road.

If it goes ahead the school looks set for a raft of brand-new state-of-the-art facilities.

A spokesman for Staffordshire County Council said it would be an ‘exciting new opportunity for local education’.

JCB have stressed the deal would be subject to the county council, the Diocese of Lichfield and school governors agreeing to their terms.

Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for learning and skills said: “Discussions with JCB are at a very early stage but they could pave the way for an exciting opportunity for education in and around Rocester.

Ben Adams added: “It could mean the children get new and improved facilities in which to learn, while at the same time making a key site available to a major employer for its expansion.

“It’s early days and we will keep people up to date as our talks continue.

“Raising standards in education is a real priority for the county council and we want every child in Staffordshire to have the best start in life.

“We are working with headteachers and governors to improve standards in all our schools, and providing new buildings and facilities will only help.”

Steve Bardon, head teacher at Ryecroft Middle School, said: “The quality of education we provide remains our first priority but we will explore any opportunity to improve school facilities and help our children to learn and grow.

“We will ensure that the entire school community is fully informed to ensure any proposed changes deliver the widest possible benefits.”

Alan Thomson, JCB group property director said: “JCB and Ryecroft Middle School have been good neighbours for nearly 60 years.

“When Staffordshire County Council asked if we might be interested in acquiring the Ryecroft site, we obviously confirmed that we would be interested.

“It’s located just opposite our World Headquarters and has a lot of potential, especially in light of the company’s recently-announced growth plans for the business.”

In December, JCB announced plans to invest £150 million in Staffordshire that would create 2,500 new jobs over the next five years.

The proposals include expanding existing factories and investing in two new factories, as well as plans to relocate JCB Finance and JCB Insurance to new premises at Harper Meadow, just off the B5031 Rocester to Denstone road near the middle school.

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