HIGH school pupils in Blackburn were today returning to a purpose-built £10million school building.

Our Lady and St John Catholic College has unveiled the results of building work at the North Road site which has created an entirely new campus.

The school is part of the multi-million pound Building Schools for the Future programme renewing and rebuilding local schools.

The scheme aims to replace older buildings within Blackburn with Darwen and provide students with 21st century learning environments.

Our Lady and St John, one of the last to be completed, now consists of a brand new building with classrooms and administration facilities forming a quadrangle with three existing buildings based around a courtyard.

The heart of the school is an open space used for lunch where the whole school also gathers for break times.

Also included is a new open plan library and resource centre, new changing rooms and a fitness studio, as well as a bigger car park. Headteacher Keith Ballard said: “Our wonderful new school is the result of much hard work and patient planning from staff, pupils, parents, governors and the local authority over the last 15 months of building work.

“Balfour Beatty has given us a fantastic, well-equipped school which opens a new chapter in the life of Our Lady and St John Catholic College.

“We will continue to build on our fine reputation and to offer a first-class 11 to 19 education to future generations.”

Coun Dave Harling, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for schools and education, said: “I’m very excited to see the new college open and see the amazing new building and the modern educational facilities for students and staff.

“The BSF programme, and this building in particular, helps create an environment where young people are inspired to learn and where school staff can enjoy teaching.”