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A new school at Les Quennevais 'will be inspiration for students'

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CONSTRUCTING a new Les Quennevais school will create improved learning opportunities and inspire students to achieve greater academic success, the head of the Island's largest secondary has said.

Yesterday the Education Department unveiled three potential development sites for the building of a £40 million school to serve students in the west of the Island.

This would replace a school which was opened in 1965 to accommodate a maximum of 450 students but which now caters for nearly 700.

It has also has fallen into a state of disrepair, with facilities increasingly out of date in comparison to States schools in town and in the east of the Island.

In the last two decades all of the other secondaries have seen major redevelopment, with Le Rocquier and Hautlieu opening new buildings on adjacent sites, Haute Vallée opening to replace d'Hautrée and Grainville undergoing a refurbishment project.

And following the launch of a public consultation on three potential sites for Les Quennevais, Le Rocquier head Phil Slater, who was deputy head at the old school before making the switch to the new building in 2006, has spoken of the benefits of working in a modern building.

He said: 'Our old school was pretty much in the same condition that Les Quennevais is in now. From experience I know the environment does make a difference. The old Le Rocquier building was getting in the way of education and making certain things impossible.

'Having a new building helps to inspire students with their work. For most of the primary school children who come to the school in Year Seven, Le Rocquier appears big and exciting and it makes a huge difference to learning. Le Rocquier's results have steadily improved because of several reasons, and moving into the school is one of them.'

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Pupils at Les Quennevais School

Mr Slater, who is also the honorary secretary of the Jersey Association of Head Teachers, said that the new building had allowed the school to expand the curriculum, for students to move more freely between classes and for the school to adopt longer lunch breaks.

'Having the extra space means movement is a lot easier throughout the school,' he said. 'Our school is as busy as an airport, as we have one thousand people moving around ten times a day. Being able to move around quickly and easily makes life a lot easier. In the old building we had to operate a shorter lunch, as too many students in a long lunch hour was a recipe for problems.'

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He added that in the forthcoming months, Sarah Hague, the head of Les Quennevais, would have opportunities to work with architects to address issues specific to the St Brelade school.

'One of the good things is having educationalists involved in school planning,' he said. 'Obviously we want our schools to look good but we want them to work well in all respects.

'When the new school was being built we worked with the architects to ensure that the corridors were straight and wide enough so we could look down the whole corridor.'

Click here to have your say on the three options.

[figure caption="Option One: Les Quennevais Sports Field.

The first option involves constructing the school on States-owned land at the south-east corner of the playing fields – the area that is currently the tennis court and car park.

The project would involve adapting the design of the school around the existing hockey pitch and would lead to a net loss of facilities, including one fewer sports pitch and the reduction of the cycle track from 1,500m to 1,000m.

To allow access to the school, a new road layout would have to be constructed and traffic levels are expected to be increased in the residential area surrounding the playing fields." title="Model" align="center" url="/?attachment_id=1512093" id="1512093" size="100"]

[figure caption="Option Two: Fields south of Rue Carrée

The second potential site is located on a collection of small fields south of the Airport.

Since it was suggested the site might be suitable in 2013, environmental, geological, archaeological, acoustic and traffic studies have been carried out which have suggested it would be a feasible option. Notably, it is shielded from aircraft noise by the departures building and new cargo hangar.

Other positives include:

  • Potential for future expansion
  • Benefits for local sports users with the creation of extra courts and pitches for out of hours community use
  • Good transport links – the site is accessible from the existing main road, with drop off for cars and buses on site

However, on the opposing side, construction would lead to a loss of agricultural fields and open space between Red Houses and the Airport. The site is in the Green Zone in the Island Plan, but the policy allows for 'elements of significant public infrastructure, such as a new secondary school' provided it can be demonstrated that this is the most appropriate site and any impact is mitigated as far as possible." title="Model" align="center" url="/news/2015/09/15/three-options-for-new-10-million-les-quennevais-school/model-3/" id="1512097" size="100"]

[figure caption="Option Three: Fields south of Rue Carrée plus St Brelade football pitch site

The third option is very similar to the second and would enjoy the same advantages of transport links and protection from aircraft noise. Unlike option two, however, there would be minimal disruption to green fields as the plan would incorporate the current St Brelade football club pitch.

If the option was chosen, the school would also be closer to existing urban developments.

The main drawback is that the school size would be restricted to ensure that it can fit onto the pitch and not encroach on the surrounding green fields. The St Brelade Social Club's clubhouse would also need to be moved from its current location." title="Model" align="center" url="/news/2015/09/15/three-options-for-new-10-million-les-quennevais-school/model-2/" id="1512095" size="100"]

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