Almost 3,000 school pupils visit construction site of Northern Spire bridge in Sunderland

Written by on 19th June 2018

Over 2,200 schoolchildren enjoyed a lesson with a difference when they visited the construction site of Sunderland’s new Northern Spire bridge through its construction.

During the past 16 months, every primary and secondary school in the city, including those for special needs youngsters, was invited to bring some pupils to site to learn about the project, the different skills and professions involved, and the benefits the bridge would bring to Sunderland and the wider region.

Some 46 schools took up the offer, with 2,275 children attending, ranging in age from seven to 17.

They spent time in the on-site classroom learning about the processes involved in the construction, handling some of the materials used in the cable stay installation, and taking part in a quiz, before going out on the viewing platform to watch the site at work.

All of the teachers that attended rated the hour-long sessions either 4 or 5 out of 5, giving an average score of 4.9 on how beneficial the content and visits were.

Sunderland City Council launched the school visit programme in conjunction with Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction, which formed FVB Joint Venture, to deliver the new bridge on behalf of the council, to help enthuse young people about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers, and to share knowledge of the project.

Northern Saints Primary School, which is located close to the bridge on the north side of the river, took up the opportunity to visit site with some of its pupils. The project also inspired the school to organise its own bridge-building lessons in class.

Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director of FVB Joint Venture, said this was an good opportunity to share with the city.

“The team feels very privileged to have been involved in the construction of Northern Spire, so it’s been wonderful to share the experience with schoolchildren in the city.

“We love what we do, so hope children who have visited feel inspired and enthused to follow careers in the construction and engineering fields. It would be a wonderful legacy for the project to leave, which would benefit Sunderland for years to come.” – Stephen McCaffrey.

Northern Spire is the first bridge to be built over the river in Sunderland for 40 years. It will link the communities of Pallion and Castletown and is due to open in early summer.

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