Students enjoyed a first look inside their new school ahead of its opening next year.

A group of Year 7 and 8 students were given a sneak peek inside The Whitehaven Academy – as it rises next to their current classrooms.

The state-of-the-art new build is set to replace the current facilities at the academy by next spring. More than 560 students, including those studying at the West Coast Sixth Form, will move in with teaching and support staff.

The building includes 21 classrooms, seven science labs, two art studios with views across to the Lakeland fells and three design and technology rooms. There’s also a sports hall with dance and drama studios.

Headteacher Nigel Youngman said students had been thrilled to get a look inside.

He said: “We see work progressing every day and it was lovely to finally be able to take a small group of students inside and show them where they will be learning from next year.

“Each one found a different point of interest, from the high ceilings and natural light flooding in, to the new sports hall and the bright art classes with their fantastic views.”

Year 7 student Matthew was one of those to give the new build a thumbs up.

He said: “It’s so different to where we are now and I can’t wait to get started.”

The three-storey building will allow year and subject group clusters, has bright internal walkways and an impressive, glass-fronted main entrance. There will also be a community entrance for groups and individuals using the on-site facilities outside of school hours.

With the school move planned for early 2022, next September’s Year 7 will be the first intake to benefit from the entirety of their secondary schooling taking place in new facilities.

In contrast to last year, the school is planning to welcome prospective families to an in-person open evening to meet staff and hear more about the academy’s progress on Tuesday, October 5. Details are available at

Mr Youngman added: “There is a great buzz around the school.

“The new build is a major factor but the innovations we have made in the curriculum, trying to connect more with our community and surroundings, and the new uniform have all been viewed as very positive steps forward.”

The academy is part of Cumbria Education Trust which is now responsible for 11 academies, including secondaries William Howard School in Brampton and Workington Academy. Whitehaven and Workington formed the West Coast Sixth Form in 2020.