A GROWING high school has been granted more than £1million to invest in essential refurbishments.

Padgate Academy, which is part of Warrington’s Challenge Academy Trust (TCAT), has now started work on its £1.83million project to refurbish the school, a majority of which was built in the 1970s and is no longer fit for purpose.

Refurbishments include new roofing, lighting, flooring, PE changing rooms, canteen and science labs and will help aid the learning of its increasing numbers of students.

Matthew Grant, CEO of TCAT and principal at Priestley College, said: “The Department of Education really did pull out all the stops- these refurbishments would have taken years to do if it had been funded from the school budget.

“And, the pupils who are here now are the ones who are going to benefit.”

Students at Padgate have been involved in the new changes which are set to finish in early 2020, as they were when TCAT became the new sponsor of the school in December.

This change meant reverting the previously named University Academy Warrington to Padgate Academy, at which stage students helped design a new badge to mark the occasion.

Head teacher, Misia Barclay, said: “It was nice for them to feel that they were part of that project in designing the badge and picking the colours, so now we’ve been quite open with them.

“They are excited about the main school area because they really do look after the building.

“It’s the start of a new era for the school- so many positive things have happened this year already.”

Padgate Academy has seen a 50 per cent increase in its number of year seven starters, as well as its best ever set of GCSE results this summer.

Misia added: “We’re not complacent, we want to be even better this year and now we know we have got everything in place to make that happen.

“There has been a lot of work over the past couple of years which has come from having really fantastic staff.

“They’ve been through a lot but have made sure that things for the students were kept as similar as possible.

“We have been really lucky.”