Barking Abbey pupils ‘jumping for joy’ as new sports hall opens as part of £18m expansion

Year 8 pupils from Barking Abbey with, from left to right, Scott Leather, PE teacher, Dennis Wright,

Year 8 pupils from Barking Abbey with, from left to right, Scott Leather, PE teacher, Dennis Wright, from Be First, Cllr Carpenter, and headteacher Jo Tupman. Picture: Jamie Lorriman - Credit: Archant

Pupils are jumping for joy after being put through their paces in a new state-of-the-art sports hall.

Barking Abbey's new hall is part of a £17.9million expansion which allows the specialist sports and humanities college to take in 90 more students each year.

Headteacher, Jo Tupman, said: "I am delighted we have now opened our new sports hall at our Longbridge campus and are able to offer the same standard of sporting facility across both our campuses.

"It is a very exciting period in Barking Abbey's long history as we gradually expand to 12-forms of entry and develop our dual campus model.

"Along with our new teaching block and sixth form centre, this will continue to further improve our teaching and learning facilities, so our students are supported in the best possible way to achieve all their goals."

The school, which operates across sites inSandringham Road and Longbridge Road, has already tasted sporting success with pupils scooping basketball scholarships in the USA and representing Great Britain.

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for educational attainment and school improvement, said: "The new facilities at Barking Abbey, including its excellent gym, epitomise what we're trying to achieve in Barking and Dagenham.

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"We're expanding our schools as our population grows, so every child has a place, with first class facilities and in a setting that will encourage pupils to reach new heights. Nine out of 10 of our schools rated good to outstanding by Ofsted."

The council's regeneration firm, Be First, was involved in the expansion project.

Dennis Wright, Be First's construction manager, said: "We're motivated by building high quality affordable homes and thriving communities at the same time.

"Good schools are at the heart of this, so we're delighted to be able to help the staff and students of Barking Abbey grow and succeed."

The school's expansion also includes a new 690 square metre teaching block complete with dining hall, science labs, design and technology, art and general teaching classrooms at its Longbridge site.