Willmott Dixon has been selected by Kent County Council as its preferred bidder for the £21 million development of The Skinners’ Kent Academy, Tunbridge Wells.

The proposals will see the academy rebuilt as a state-of-the-art school with the latest ICT facilities. Willmott Dixon was one of 12 firms bidding for the contract through Partnerships for Schools’ (PfS) national Contractors’ Framework. PfS is the government's delivery agent for capital investment programmes into schools.

Construction is estimated to begin early 2011 and complete late 2012. Parents and residents will have an opportunity to view and comment on the plans at a public exhibition to be held at The Skinners’ Kent Academy on 17 November 2010.

Leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter said, “This is very welcome news for The Skinners’ Kent Academy and the local community. Willmott Dixon has a well-established reputation in the education sector and we have every confidence that their proposals not only match, but exceed the school’s vision to transform education for pupils in Tunbridge Wells.

“The news also represents a timely boost for the Kent economy, particularly with Willmott Dixon’s commitment to use local suppliers where possible, source 75% of the workforce locally and provide local skills training and apprenticeship opportunities.”

Principal Sian Carr said, “This is exceptionally good news for the whole community of The Skinners’ Kent Academy. Since opening as an academy in September 2009, we have already made substantial progress in raising attainment levels - including an 88% improvement in GCSE results in 5 subjects including English & Maths - and this has been achieved in buildings that challenged rather than supported teaching and learning. The new facilities will enable the Academy to provide the highest quality 21st century education for its pupils and raise aspirations in the local community to provide educational, social and economic benefits for all.”

Jonathan Payne, deputy managing director for Willmott Dixon in the Eastern Home Counties said, “We are extremely delighted to have been selected as the preferred bidder for The Skinners’ Kent Academy. Both Kent County Council and the Academy have set some challenging targets and we have the commitment and dedication to ensure the new buildings will be a source of pride for both The Skinners’ Kent Academy and the community of Tunbridge Wells.”