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Regional Mayor Andy Burnham lays the foundations for an Eco Future at Byrchall High School

On January 23rd 2024, staff, students and many members of the wider community of Ashton in Makerfield welcomed the Greater Manchester Mayor to Byrchall High School for a ceremony to unveil a new foundation stone.

Representatives from the Department of Education and the construction company BAM were also present.

The stone will sit alongside four others that chart the proud history of the school back to 1588. Once the building is complete they will be placed together in the new Eco school to open in September 2024.

Students and staff alike are excited and keen to begin working in the state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, sports venues and studio spaces that will together create an unrivalled learning environment fit for every student in our diverse and welcoming community.

Many students alumni and staff joined with members of the Ashton-in-Makerfield community to listen as present students explained the pioneering features that will make this building carbon neutral, generating and recycling its own energy every day.

A school with a unique history the Mayor congratulated the students saying ‘This is a fantastic school, with a proud history and this next generation of students live in a time when Greater Manchester will be the first to push forward for a better carbon neutral future benefitting everyone in our region’.

Receiving a ‘Good’ report from Ofsted just last year, the school boasts a proud history of academic success that reaches as far back as 1588 when the school was founded by Sir Robert Birchall. As the present students prepare to move forward, the school has also welcomed back alumni community members to share memories of school life at Byrchall . 

Thomas in Y8 said ‘This is such an exciting time to be at school.  I am planning for September and all the things that I already enjoy at school and how the new building might make them even better. There will be space and facilities for our wider community too, and I am looking forward to trying new things right from the first day. It feels really close now- I can’t wait move into our new school!’

John Phillips, Regional Director, commented: 'BAM UK&I is delighted to be delivering the design and build on Byrchall School. This institution has roots back to the 1580s and its location on a greenfield site has been key in our thoughts when delivering the project.

'The operational aim of providing a ‘net zero’ facility, using latest design and technology – which considers everything from lighting and heat efficiencies, nature-friendly environment, ‘bio solar’ roofing – and so much more – exemplifies our commitment to providing a first-class learning zone and organic space. Indeed, a facility and surrounding area that allows students, staff and the community to have a deep appreciation of making a truly modern, sustainable school possible.

'Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham’s visit to Byrchall, is further recognition of the impact Byrchall wants to create and the legacy it will leave in the years’ ahead.'

Head Teacher Alan Birchall agreed ‘We have so much to celebrate here at Byrchall and it was wonderful that the Mayor could join us today to mark the start of the next chapter in the history of that success. Our students shared some of their own thoughts and feelings on the move and said how the features of our new eco school will impact positively upon their lives every day. We are proud of our history and academic success over such a long time'. 

'We value every young person we are privileged to work with and seek to both nurture and develop them into happy successful young adults. This foundation stone will sit at the center of our new school physically, and the history it represents will form the basis for the bright future that we are building together’

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