A ‘MASSIVE step forward’ is how the MP for Eddisbury described The Winsford E-ACT Academy’s new school building.

Stephen O’Brien was among dignitaries and members of the public invited to tour the £19.6 million facility on Friday, November 9.

Children’s’ learning needs have informed the design from the ground up, with Kier Construction due to complete the build two months before new pupils arrive next September.

The structure’s high-tech, modern facilities have already started to reverse the historical trend of Winsford losing secondary pupils to neighbouring towns. 2013’s projected group of Year Sevens is 50 per cent up on last year’s intake.

Andrew Duncalf, E-ACT’s director of finance; said: “Winsford is a town where a big percentage of children who live here travel elsewhere for their secondary education. But the feel good factor of coming to a school with brand new facilities is proving very attractive.”

The new building will increase EACT’s intake from 1,045 to 1,700, taking into account an increased demand, Winsford’s growing population, and incoming laws raising school leaving age to 18 by 2015.

The school’s main concourse – known as ‘The Street’ – is a spacious corridor dividing a three-story section of airy modern classrooms from distinct ground-floor zones, where high-ceilings and ample creative space accommodate design technology, art and drama subjects.

Each of the classrooms is set back from a balcony overlooking The Street, offering students areas to socialise and study.

Also featured are a new library, ample bike sheds and lockers, and a large assembly hall able to seat 425 people, enabling larger scale school productions.

Coupled with music rooms and a redesigned school field of sports pitches and multi use games areas, Winsford’s new high school is due to encourage increased extra-curricular use.

Vicky Atkinson, deputy director of finance, said: “It’s long overdue. The people of Winsford have needed a new school building for very many years, and we’re very excited to be able to offer this new learning experience.”

MP Stephen O’Brien said: "I was really impressed to see the progress which has been made in the new Winsford E-Act Academy building. The concern shown by the contractors to minimise the impact and disruption to the local neighbourhood and the fact that it was designed with the benefit of the children's' learning experience to the fore is a massive step forward for Winsford. The Academy has my complete support.”

Keep up with progress to the school via a blog written by Principal Andy Taylor-Edwards, at principalbloggy.wordpress.com