STUDENTS are waiting with baited breath as plans move forward for hi-tech sports facilities that will revolutionise their learning.
With the support of Sport England, Carmel College is hoping to transform a swamp-like playing field into a state of the art all-weather pitch so more than 1,200 children can exercise and hone their skills in bad weather.
The £1/2m investment will be the first in sports facilities in more than three decades and allow Carmel College to compete on a level playing field in a host of sporting events.
It will also boost curriculum development and allow greater engagement of students who are not keen sportsman providing opportunities to exercise and improve their health and wellbeing.
The plans have been welcomed by the college’s Year 10/11 hockey squad which has to play all of its games away thereby losing the home-advantage enjoyed by the competition.
Squad captain Hannah Briggs, who also plays for Darlington, said: “It would be fantastic for the whole school as the field is unusable for much of the year.
“Darlington has a really good junior team but Carmel would be able to grow and develop its players so much better if we had an all-weather pitch on which to train and play.
“Playing away all of the time means that we have to leave lessons early to get to the venue and it would be lovely to play host to other teams at college.”
Chief executive officer Maura Regan said the scheme would bring the college in line with every other secondary school in the borough and benefit students studying GCSE PE.
“As part of a multi-academy trust (MAT) we would also be able to boost PE provision during lesson time for our primary schools and stage MAT sports tournaments,” she said.
“The pitch, which could also be used for netball, tennis and athletics, would encourage our Sports Leaders whereby Year 10s mentor younger children through sport.”
Head of school Mike Shorten said: “The pitch is essential to develop the college’s sports curriculum and meet standards over the winter months.
“The pitch would also be an amazing facility for community use and for those students who do not normally engage in sporting activities and are put off by the mud.”
The scheme goes before Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee on January 6.