The Gibraltar Government has outlined plans to “revolutionise” schools in Gibraltar by either rebuilding or refurbishing all of them by the start of term in 2019.
The plans go beyond what the GSLP/Liberals envisioned in their 2015 manifesto and will impact pupils of every age, from the very early stages of nursery to A-level students at Gibraltar’s comprehensive schools and college.
They include two newly-built co-educational comprehensive schools laid out in a university-style campus centred around a circular courtyard and situated in the Waterport area.
Three other schools – St Martin’s, Bishop Fitzgerald and Governor’s Meadow – will be combined into a single three-school complex in the Westside area.
The Gibraltar College will have a new building next to the Cross of Sacrifice on Devil’s Tower Road, while Notre dame and St Anne’s will be combined into a single complex alongside Winston Churchill Avenue.
The government has not yet released estimates for the cost of the programme, which will go out to competitive tender and includes plans to refurbish and modernise all remaining schools.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo hailed the schools development programme as a “huge step forward for education in Gibraltar”.
He detailed the plans at a press conference at No. 6 Convent Place this afternoon flanked by the Minister for Education, Dr John Cortes, and the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who also holds responsibility for planning.
Five programmes are planned:
Programme 1 will see a new Notre Dame School and a new St Anne’s School at Laguna
The Laguna Youth Club will be relocated to the south after a temporary period at St Theresa’s Hall. The Adventure Playground will be reprovided near its current site, with a further open area next to the new youth club. Sports facilities will be incorporated and available after hours for community use.
Programme 2 will see a total refurbishment of the current Westside School site
This will accommodate Governor’s Meadow and Bishop Fitzgerald Schools. St Martin’s School will also move to this location, which will provide seamless outreach opportunities for the students at the special school. The schools will benefit from a large sports hall and playing field.
Programme 3 will see totally new co-educational Comprehensive Schools at Waterport
They will be located side by side but will continue to function as two entirely distinct and totally separate schools but with a common library which will enhance the resources available to all the students.
Programme 4 sees the Gibraltar College move from the current location
A new purpose-built facility will be provided in the area of Devil’s Tower Road. The facility is planned to be behind at the Cross of Sacrifice.
Programme 5 will see the upgrades and refurbishment of St Paul’s, St Mary’s and St Joseph’s First and Middle Schools and the Hebrew schools.
There will now be a process of assessing and identifying what improvements are needed. This programme will see the inclusion of kitchen facilities at St Mary’s Middle School, St Joseph’s first and Middle Schools and at St Bernard’s First and Middle Schools.