The old school tie... Past pupils revisit Collegiate one last time

Final heritage tour at Collegiate High School.
Final heritage tour at Collegiate High School.
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A married couple who met in high school, men sliding down the banisters and teachers retracing their footsteps to their offices.

A whole range of people turned out for one last look around Blackpool’s Collegiate High School, ahead of a £14m redevelopment of the campus on Blackpool Old Road.

The secondary school opened its doors to the community on Sunday, welcoming more than 150 people, including past pupils, former teachers and supporters of the school.

The event gave visitors an opportunity to tour the school before it is demolished to make way for the merged Collegiate and Bispham high schools, set to be named Aspire Academy.

Acting headteacher John Topping said: “It was incredible, a fantastic morning, it rekindled a lot of memories for a lot of former students.

“It really was a trip down memory lane.”

Among the visitors was a woman who was in the first cohort of girls to join the school in 1971 as well as some students who left the school in the last few years.

One couple told how they were now married after meeting at the school and took photos in their memorable places around the school grounds.

Former deputy headteacher and PE teacher Jack Quarmby revisited his old office as part of the tour.

And a group of men in their forties couldn’t resist sliding down the banisters while looking around, just as they had as teenagers.

The event, from 10am on Sunday, also allowed visitors to look over the plans for the £14m redevelopment, to include a £10m building for the merged Aspire Academy as well as £4m facilities for Highfurlong Special School.

Mr Topping added: “People saw what we hope to achieve in the very near future, creating a building on the footprint of the existing property, and I think they were impressed.”

Contractors Carillion will move on to the site on February 24 to start work on demolishing the existing buildings and creating the new schools. Collegiate’s remaining 195 pupils, in Years 10 and 11, are moving into temporary accommodation while Years Seven, Eight and Nine are learning with their peers at Bispham High School, Bispham Road.

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