Senior cabinet minister calls Rugby's Houlton School 'a wonderful educational opportunity' during visit

The school is set to open in September

L-R: Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP, Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling MP and Rugby and Bulkington MP Mark Pawsey.

A senior cabinet minister said Rugby's Houlton School will be a 'a wonderful educational opportunity' during a visit last week.

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, Conservative Party co-chairman and cabinet minister without portfolio, Amanda Milling MP, and Schools Minister Nick Gibb, visited the Houlton School development in Rugby it prepares to welcome its first Year 7 students this September.

The school is a new 11-18 Academy and has received funding from the Department of Education (DfE).

Its creation is part of a 6,200-home urban development on the outskirts of the town delivered by master developer Urban&Civic (U&C).

The school is housed in the historic Grade II-listed former Rugby Radio Station.

During the visit the Conservative co-chairman and the Schools Minister praised the team, who have worked through pandemic to ensure the school is able to open in September.

They also highlighted the importance of good education facilities to the Government’s Levelling Up agenda, which they said Houlton is delivering with both the new secondary school and the existing St Gabriel’s Primary school - which opened in 2018.

The Houlton School will host purpose-built science, technology, engineering and maths and humanities buildings, alongside specialist broadcast and radio facilities and a sports centre available for community use.

This has come about through a partnership between developer U&C, the Transforming Lives Educational Trust (which also runs Ashlawn School) and the DfE, who signed the school’s funding agreement.

Minister Gibb said he was impressed by the potential of the school and the vision of the people behind the project, including Principal Designate Michael McCulley.

Speaking during the visit, Conservative Party co-chairman and Cabinet Minister without Portfolio, Amanda Milling MP said: “As part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda, we want to give every child in this country a world class education.

"We need schools and projects like Houlton School and its staff to ensure we can deliver on those aims, not just here in Rugby but right across the country.

"Pupils coming here in a couple of months will have a wonderful educational opportunity and I wish them all the best of luck for the new school year.

“The DfE gave backing to this plan because we believe it will deliver everything pupils in this area need.

"We have promised to invest to ensure our schools delivering the biggest funding increase in schools for a decade and giving every pupil across England a funding boost.

"It is project like Houlton School which show we’re on the right path to success, especially as we come out of the pandemic and help every child reach their potential. I am sure the facilities here and the staff who will work in them can deliver an excellent education for every child who attends.”

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey said he was thrilled to see the development near completion.

He said: “I’ve been following the development of Houlton School closely and it has been great to see the project go from concept to now just being a few weeks away from welcoming a new generation of youngsters to what will be a world class-school.

"It is also a great example of how well managed development can deliver new facilities and infrastructure alongside new homes.

“I am very pleased that Amanda and Nick had the opportunity to visit Rugby and see the great work taking place here.

"This new school is a fantastic example of how the Government is investing in our young people by backing ambitious projects, and I know that the hard work which has gone into making the school a reality will be appreciated by the generations of young people who will get a great education there, starting this September."