The new academic year has started on a high note at one middle school where pupils are now being taught in newly built classrooms and can enjoy better music facilities.
Holywell CofE Middle School, in Cranfield, has been expanded, which means it can now accommodate 600 pupils from Year 5 to Year 8.
Work to expand the middle school in Red Lion Close was done in two stages. The first, in summer 2014, saw a new library and school hall created, together with a meeting room for parent visits.
As that stage finished builders moved on to create a new three-classroom block. At the same time they took down a series of internal walls and created a stunning new music facility – doubling the size of the main teaching area and created two new music practice rooms.
The school hall and new blocks have been named after long-serving current and former members of staff Bev Yates, Stuart Macfarlan and Dave Hall.
Dave was deputy headteacher at Holywell for 13 years and served there for 31 years before retiring in the summer, while dinner supervisor Bev, who has also had a classroom block named after her, has been at Holywell since 1980.
Meanwhile Stuart, who joined Holywell in 1978, has had the school hall named in his honour. He has returned to the school to help in a variety of ways since retiring – including helping staff during a very recent Year 8 residential trip to Swanage.
Last Monday (September 21) the new builds were officially opened by Bishop of Bedford, the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson.
He was joined by dignitaries at the ceremony, including Central Bedfordshire Council’s executive member for education and skills Councillor Mark Versallion, vice chairman Councillor Fiona Chapman, ward members Councillor Sue Clark, Councillor Ken Matthews and Councillor Robert Morris, and the council’s head of school organisation, admissions and capital planning Rob Parsons
The expansion scheme is part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s commitment to providing 6,500 new school places in the next five years.
Headteacher Peter Haddon said: “I am really grateful for everything that Central Bedfordshire Council has done for us. I know the Holywell project is relatively small in the grand scheme of everything the council is doing, but it is massive for us.
“The library is a really lovely place and a great space for pupils just to relax and read a book; the hall is very impressive and the very clever design means we can sit 300 pupils for lunches. In addition the low ceiling means that it is not a noisy space even with such large numbers dining.
“The new classrooms are gorgeous – they are big, light, airy and done to a fantastic standard. They have high-spec IT and have new interactive TVs installed and classroom sets of computer arrive next week. They are just a lovely space for the children to learn in.
“The music rooms are fantastic too – you can now fit the orchestra in there and the teacher can see the pupils in the practice rooms from the main room, which is very unusual. All in all, it’s absolutely tremendous and Ashe Construction have done a great job on the whole project.”
For more information about the council’s new school places programme, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/school-places