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The Laidlaw Teaching and Leadership Centre officially opened at Sedgefield Community College, a Laidlaw Schools Trust academy. The £3.2m two-storey building, designed by ADP Architecture, will serve as a learning hub for PGCE teacher trainees, and provide additional classroom space for Sedgefield pupils.

Susanna V. Kempe, Chair of Laidlaw Schools Trust and CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation, commented: “Investing in this state-of-the-art building where PGCE students can learn in the immersive setting of an Outstanding school underscores our commitment to making the North East a beacon of educational excellence.” 

At the opening ceremony, pupils from Laidlaw Schools Trust academies celebrated by expressing what teachers mean to them in front of an audience that included Prof. Charlotte Clarke, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences & Health at Durham University, and Garry Hope, Regional Managing Director, Robertson Construction North East, the main contractor of the Centre. 

Ian Simpson, CEO of Laidlaw Schools Trust, commented: “The Centre represents a significant investment into the region by the Laidlaw Foundation, and is a recognition of the exceptional work that the leaders and teachers at Sedgefield have been doing for several years, training graduates to the highest level and ensuring the number of quality trainees joining the profession continues to increase.”

Geoff Robinson, Headteacher at Sedgefield Community College, said: “We feel very fortunate and thankful to the Laidlaw Schools Trust to have such an amazing and impressive facility on our site. Most importantly, it is an integral element in both the school’s and the Trust’s shared mission to increase the educational opportunities offered to our students across the wider North East region. The Centre will support children, schools and communities across the area to provide world-class education, supporting young people to prosper, and providing the qualifications and skills needed to realise their potential.”