Official Opening of Sunderland Link School Springwell Dene

Sunderland Link School Unveiling of commemorative plaque by Mayor of Sunderland and Olympian Aly Dixon

On Friday 6 December, The Mayor of Sunderland and Olympian, Aly Dixon, welcomed guests to the official opening of the Sunderland Link School at Springwell Dene.

The school has received a £1.4m regeneration and since September 2019 has been the new location for young people aged 5 to 14 studying at Key Stages 1 to 3.

The Link School Sunderland provides alternative provision meeting the needs of pupils not attending mainstream school and the new location has increased alternative provision in Sunderland with an additional 40 places.

New facilities at the school include a new £250,000 ICT infrastructure, music recording studio, refurbished arts and ceramics studio, upgrades to every classroom, refurbished sports and dining halls, a dedicated Key Stage 1 zone and the creation of an outdoor classroom area.

World champion and current 50km world record holder, Aly Dixon, from Sunderland delivered an inspirational speech and participated in a PE lesson with pupils in the sports hall.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr. David Snowdon, unveiled a commemorative plaque, that is positioned alongside plaques that mark the opening of the original building in 1949 and a refurbishment in 1989.

Invited guests, parents and carers were treated to a singing performance from pupils (Jayce Wood and Matthew Somers) and given school tours that took in a drumming and guitar skills workshop, a science lesson that looked at materials and their properties when making ice cream, Christmas arts and crafts, a business and enterprise showcase and a mindfulness and meditation session.

Sunderland Link School provision is rated Good by Ofsted with inspectors praising good progress from starting points, improving attendance, good behaviour and pupils taking pride in their work and increasing in confidence.

Donna Walker, Link School Headteacher, said: “We are grateful to everyone that came along to help us mark this occasion. Anyone that visits our school will see what a welcoming and caring place it is and today demonstrated that.”

Jill Colbert, Chief Executive at Together for Children, said: “The improved standard of accommodation at Springwell Dene is fantastic and parents and carers should be very proud of pupils that showed off their talents today.”

Fiona Brown, Executive Director of Neighbourhoods at Sunderland City Council, said: “This project really does offer improved alternative provision in Sunderland and it was great to share in showcasing high levels of teaching. This council and its partners are committed to ensuring that all our city’s students get the very best.”

To find out more about alternative education provision please visit