A significant milestone has been marked in the building of Cambridgeshire’s largest education campus with a special turf cutting ceremony that took place on Wednesday 21 November.

Councillors and partners of the project gathered at the site of the new Northstowe Education Campus for the occasion which marks the start of the first phase of the scheme.

Cambridgeshire County Council received the go ahead to develop Phase 1 of the Northstowe Education Campus last month, in partnership with South Cambridgeshire District Council and Homes England (HE), the government’s national housing agency.

The first phase of the campus, which will cost around £45m, includes a secondary school, a multipurpose school hall / theatre space and drama studios, a sports hall large enough for four tennis courts, a gym, two dance studios, an all-weather floodlit football pitch and a 110-place Special Education Needs (SEN) school.

Kier Construction and Faithful and Gould are working with the County Council on the project, which once complete will also include a 400-place sixth form college co-located with the secondary school, a primary school and a nursery, an eight-court indoor sports hall, gymnasium, café, dance and fitness studios and outdoor community sports facilities.

The first primary school in Northstowe – Pathfinder Primary School – was also built by Kier Construction and opened in September last year.

Dennis Cotton, Operations Director for Kier said: “Kier is very proud to be delivering the new Northstowe Education Campus. The turf cutting ceremony is an important milestone, and everyone should be congratulated on their hard work so far to get this project to site.”

Cllr Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee and Cllr Peter Hudson, local member for Longstanton, Northstowe and Over at Cambridgeshire County Council cut the turf to mark the start of the construction work watched by project partners.

“This is a significant milestone in the building of Northstowe Education Campus and is the culmination of many years of working together in partnership to get where we are today,” said Cllr Bywater.

“This is a truly one-of-a-kind, landmark project bringing all core education and community facilities together into one place for the children of Northstowe and Longstanton and the wider community.”

The secondary school, planned to open in September 2019, will be run by Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) and will provide places for up to 600 pupils aged 11-16.  It will then be extended in two subsequent phases to 1,200 and finally 1,800 pupils.  The timing of these phases will be dependent upon the pace of housing development and demand for places from families moving into the catchment area.

The school will be the seventh secondary school to join CMAT and will work closely with CMAT’s other schools across Cambridgeshire and surrounding areas, including Swavesey Village College, which has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted since 2011.

Photography by Barry Rivett