A new education centre catering for some of Slough’s most vulnerable pupils has been formally opened by the borough council's cabinet member for children and schools Cllr Shabnum Sadiq.

Guests invited to tour the newly refurbished Thomas Gray building in Queens Road after the ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday last week included representatives of the council, the contractors and the architects.

Also there were governors, teachers and headteachers from the town's Littledown School and Haybrook College, who have pupils based in the centre.

Activate (which is the Haybrook College part of the centre) is a pupil referral unit where young people at risk of being excluded from school or who have been permanently excluded are educated. They moved into the Thomas Gray building last year although the renovation works have only just been completed.

The other half of the building is occupied by Littledown School which is a primary school for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties as well as the behaviour outreach service SEBDOS.

Jamie Rockman, executive headteacher of Haybrook College, said: “The Thomas Gray building was originally built in 1895 and was one of the first council run schools in Slough until 1977. It then became a school for non-English speaking pupils followed by the Schools Language Services and then jointly by Littledown School and Slough’s Adult Education Service, until this year when it was renovated making it fit for purpose for both primary and secondary alternative provision.

“It is really heartening to see in times of extreme financial pressure that Slough Borough Council has displayed the moral courage to continue to provide significant capital investment towards the education of Slough’s most marginalised, vulnerable and complex young people to ensure they have the best possible opportunities."

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, cabinet member for children and schools, said: “We feel passionately about supporting every child in the borough and believe no child should ever feel they are missing out, which is why the renovation of these buildings to provide this fantastic environment for those children in alternative provision is so important.”