Friday September 9 was the first day of term at the Barlow RC High School in Didsbury, Manchester and it wasn’t just the Year 7 students who were new to the school – many of the facilities were too.
The high-specification science block opened its doors as the first phase of the Building Schools for the Future £11.2m renovation was completed.
At the heart of the school’s science specialism, the building houses three specialist labs, two multi-use labs, a science garden, two science studios, an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) learning area and two prep rooms.
These facilities come in addition to a new drama and dance studio, sports hall, ICT suites and reception area and will be followed by the launch of an all-weather pitch and landscaped grounds.
The renovation work will conclude in February 2012 with re-modelled English, Maths, Design and Technology and Art departments.
There is a buzz in the air at the school following the recent GCSE results that have taken pupils not only to the top of the Manchester school league table but have put the school on track to becoming one of the best in the country.
An outstanding 93 per cent of pupils achieved five A*-C grades with a staggering 69 per cent achieving five A*- C in English and Maths. These results have already seen the school inundated with applications for next year. The Barlow has a new leadership team and the school’s strong sense of teamwork and high morale was noted in March’s Ofsted inspection. The school was praised for its strong Catholic ethos.
Since her appointment, headteacher Claire McCarron has been determined to raise standards and aspirations. She has high expectations of pupils in terms of work, uniform and behaviour and is delighted with the school’s development. She said: “Congratulations again to our students who absolutely smashed the Barlow’s exam records and a big welcome to the Year 7s joining the school.
“With the help of our dedicated staff, all our pupils will get the most from our new facilities and achieve results that will continue to reflect the school’s commitment to bring out the best in everyone.”