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Headteacher picks up keys for new school building

The countdown is on for pupils as they prepare to start the next term in an amazing new school building and with a new name.

Willow Bank School opening

Willow Bank School will open its doors next month after developers Galliford Try handed over the keys after a 12-month £7.6million project funded by St Helens Borough Council to create a modern state-of-the-art school for its pupils.

The project has seen the transformation of the former Red Bank facility site, in Newton-le-Willows, to create a vibrant new school building for pupils of the former Penkford School. And with the new location the school has chosen a new name for its new home - Willow Bank School.

The school provides education for children who have social, emotional and mental health needs. This can include in some cases ADHD, autism and anxiety.

The new development has seen a new sports hall, canteen and offices added through extensions to one of the former buildings on the site. It also includes dedicated food technology and fully equipped science rooms, alongside redeveloped grounds to provide a wide range of activities and development opportunities for pupils.

Anne Kyle, Headteacher at Willow Bank School, said: "The school serves the whole of St Helens and we are absolutely delighted to be able to move into our new building over half term to welcome back the children into this multimillion-pound modern facility. Our children of St Helens that have needs like this deserve the very best after having to learn in the old Penkford building."

Councillor Nova Charlton, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "It is such an exciting time for the pupils and staff as they make the transition to their new school. The creation of Willow Bank School will further enhance the fantastic education that the staff have always offered to children at its former site Penkford. It has been built with the needs of the pupils at the forefront of its design with a number of features that will provide children with specialist support to meet their needs.  

"This investment will benefit so many families across the borough as Willow Bank School provides specialist education and is a real asset. The previous facilities at Penkford are no match for what we can now offer at Willow Bank and I hope the pupils and staff flourish in their new home."  

The school will open to pupils in early November.