A key milestone in the development of St James’ Park, Bishop’s Stortford High School has confirmed the new campus will be ready to open in January 2023.

Education authority Hertfordshire County Council has picked ISG to construct the new campus at St James’ Park. The move will allow the secondary school to admit 180 pupils a year – six forms of entry – rather than the current maximum of 156, with potential to expand in the future to support the new homes at St James’ Park and further afield.

The new secondary school will comprise a 10,017 sq m (107,639 sq ft) school building, sports hall, floodlit multi-use games area and parking.

The construction begins ahead of schedule this month, and is due to finish by November 2022. The new school buildings are expected to open in January 2023, with the school moving to the new site from then.

Once complete, St James’ Park will ultimately be a mixed-use development spread over four hectares, delivering 750 new homes, a care home, employment space, a primary and secondary school, and a local centre with shopping facilities.

Underpinning this sustainable new community, the schools will sit together at the heart of the development, surrounded by extensive playing fields and green space. The primary school will have capacity for up to three forms of entry and have Early Years facilities; the secondary school will take up to eight forms of entry.

Outline planning permission for the St James’ Park masterplan, and detailed permission for Phase 1 of the development, was granted in December 2019. Phase 1 will include the first 142 houses to be built, an impressive 40% of which will be affordable (available through either affordable rent or Shared Ownership).

Martin Leach, Managing Director Strategic Land, Countryside said:
The vision for the development is centred around creating a sustainable and thriving new district for Bishop’s Stortford. As a developer, Countryside is committed to creating sustainable new communities by delivering valuable infrastructure in the early stages of development. By prioritising the relocation of Bishop’s Stortford High School, we are ensuring St James’ Park is fully integrated with the existing community and supports local community living from day one.”

Head Dale Reeve is delighted to have finally reached this point in the project:
“It’s been many years in the making, but we’re all so pleased to be at a stage where construction can now take place. As a school, we’ve continued to thrive in spite of the challenges posed by our ageing buildings and very soon we will have the fantastic new facility our students deserve. Having such high-quality specialist teaching spaces alongside great performing arts and sports facilities will really help us to provide our students with a truly all-round education.”

Ben Elliott, ISG’s regional director, added:
“Creating inspirational spaces that provide the best possible learning environment for young people to thrive is a core driver shared by every project stakeholder on this important new development at The Bishop’s Stortford High School. This scheme is another excellent example of how collaboration from the outset has pushed the boundaries for innovation and value creation, especially relating to the school’s impressive sustainability specification. I’m confident that The Bishop’s Stortford High School will not only continue the institution’s long-established legacy of outstanding educational success but also become a regional benchmark for sustainable excellence.”