OLYMPIC swimmer Sharon Davies was on hand to officially launch a new school today (Tuesday, January 15).

Dene Community School of Technology in Peterlee, east Durham, is part of a £12m Building Schools for the Future project overseen by Durham County Council.

The new building, which can take up to 780 pupils, has been in use since last October.

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The completion of the external work is expected to be finished by the summer.

Councillor Claire Vasey, Durham County Council cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Dene is a fantastic example of the huge improvements we have achieved through school capital funding and will undoubtedly lead to higher achievements by its students.”

The focal point of the school is a new flexible ‘heart’ space which is surrounded by new teaching spaces, halls, a library and dining area.

Specialist teaching areas and the sports facilities are housed in new separate refurbished blocks.