The ongoing expansion of Holywell CofE Middle School in Cranfield has been viewed by members from Central Bedfordshire Council
The popular middle school, in Red Lion Close, is in the middle of a two-phase expansion scheme.
The first phase saw a new library and school hall created, together with a meeting room for parent visits. The second phase, which is well underway and is due to be completed at the end of June, will see a new three-classroom block built, the music facilities double in size and a new music practice room.
On Thursday, Executive Member for Children’s Services Cllr Mark Versallion, Deputy Executive Member for Children’s Services Sue Clark and her fellow ward councillors Cllr Alan Bastable and Cllr Ken Matthews joined headteacher Peter Haddon for a tour of the school.
When the work is completed in time for the new academic year in September, it will mean that Holywell can accommodate 600 pupils from Year 5 to Year 8.
It is part of the council’s commitment to providing 6,500 new school places across Central Bedfordshire in the next five years.
Mr Haddon said: “I have been very pleased with everything that Central Bedfordshire Council has done and the whole process has been very straightforward. The builders have been brilliant too.
“Previously we had 190 children cramped into an inadequate hall, and now there is space for 300. It is also used by the community with a drama group, dance group, the parish council and two taekwondo groups all using these lovely school facilities through the week.
“I would say that we now have the best library of any middle school in Central Bedfordshire and we are looking into plans to open it up to the community. The council has already looked at how we have relocated our library at the front of the school. When monies become available, the necessary extension of the building has been recognised as a genuine and deliverable project and gift to the village.
“Because we are a bungalow school, with everything on one floor, I got rid of corridor access to classrooms. That means the pupils get fresh air every hour as they move between lessons. All of the floor space in the new block will be used for classrooms – giving larger and better spaces for learning.”
“Doubling the size of the music room will make a huge difference to our outstanding music provision. We have a 28-piece orchestra but it gets very cramped in there and there’s no quiet corner in which to escape. The new room will give us more space and improved acoustics.
“It will enable us to put on small musical performances for parents and families with total ease. The samba band will have a proper space to create their large sound. The choir, which is outgrowing the current space, can reach for the stars.”
Cllr Versallion added: “I was really impressed to see the work which has taken place so far at Holywell and to hear how popular the new library and hall are with children, as well as the groups that use the facilities.
“Holywell really is at the heart of the community in Cranfield, which is great to see.
“Central Bedfordshire Council is doing excellent work to provide thousands of new places, and it is always very enjoyable to visit schools and see expansion schemes taking shape.
“I look forward to revisiting when the work is completed.”
For more information about the council’s new school places programme, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/school-places