A primary school in Shoreham marked the end of a five year journey of planning and building by celebrating the official opening of a new school building last Monday (July, 24).
St Nicolas and St Mary CE Primary School, in Eastern Avenue, held a special assembly which included ‘lots of music and lots of singing’ to open its new two storey block – which houses eight classrooms, an art classroom, staff space and new toilets.
Andrew Lincoln, acting headteacher, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for all the school community – from pupils to parents and everyone who has contributed – to celebrate their hard work, of which we are going to reap the benefits.
“It’s great to have this facility and there are exciting times ahead.”
He added that the school was ‘very grateful’ to West Sussex County Council for funding the new building.
Dr Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester, was welcomed to the assembly and gave a speech about the importance of firm foundations.
He then led a procession outside and, following a performance from a live band, unveiled a plaque revealing the name of the new building.
After a competition among pupils to come up with a name, the building was called The Ark – reflecting the fact that each class is named after an animal.
David Etherton, executive headteacher, hoped the title would inspire pupils to create animal themed sculptures and murals to decorate the new building.
He said the day had been ‘really brilliant’ and said of the new building: “We are really delighted with it, there is so much space inside.
“The children love it.”
The primary had been a one form entry school with 30 pupils per class for years, until it was decided in 2012 to start the process of taking on another form per year, due to the ‘huge demand’ for places at the school and a shortage of school places across Shoreham more generally.
Three years ago the school celebrated the first phase of their expansion with a new foyer, hall and staff room.
The opening of the building marked the completion of the second and final phase of the expansion.
The five temporary mobile cabins which had been used for classes will disappear over the summer as the school makes full use of the new facility from September.
However, Mr Etherton said the expansion was still not sufficient to address Shoreham’s shortage of school places – which is why the school chose to make a bid, which has been successful, to open a second primary in the town.
It will be called St Clement and will also have two forms per school year.
He said the new school would retain the same strong Christian ethos and values, but without the requirement that parents attend church.
He said: “It’s really exciting.
“It will give parents more choice and will relieve some of the pressure on school places in the area.”