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School's out for summer - and the builders are moving in

Date: 20/07/2011           Category: School capital projects

The school year is coming to an end and while children get set to enjoy the holidays, work to transform six Medway schools is just beginning.

For pupils at Napier Community Primary School, Gillingham, breaking up for the holidays means saying goodbye to their small playground, cramped hall and reception area.

The diggers are moving in next week (25 July) at Oaklands Infant and Junior Schools, All Faiths’ Children’s Community School, Thames View Infant and Junior Schools and Napier Primary.

At Napier the school is set to gain additional space for sport, drama and IT as part of the improvements, which also include moving the reception and kitchens. The entire project is due for completion in July 2012.

To prepare for all the changes, the school created a Playground Development Team, a group of pupils, who, armed with their own log books, set about planning their new school play area.

The group got to grips with the building and design process, and spread the word among other pupils about the changes to their school.

The architects also set the team the task of creating idea boards about how they’d like to see their school improved.

The project will mean that the school, on Napier Road, will have green space for PE and games for the first time, after acquiring land that previously belonged to the former Robert Napier sixth form.

A third of the former sixth form building is also being demolished to create play and office spaces for the primary.

Among the ideas from the team for their extra space were a running track, climbing walls and assault courses.

Pupil Emily Brazier, 10, said: “We can’t wait to have the extra play areas because they’ll mean we have space to play while the boys are playing football in the playground and we can also play more sports like tennis and netball.”

The remainder of the former sixth form building will be converted to house a new staff block, space for community use and more equipment, with ICT classes now be able to have one computer each.

The project at Napier is part of the council’s School Capital Programme, which provides vital improvements to dated school buildings

Headteacher Zerina Slade, said: “The project has also been a great opportunity for the children to learn about their school building and all the planning and team work that a project like this needs. It’s been great fun and we can’t wait to see the changes in September.”

Medway Council’s Portfolio holder for Children’s Services, Cllr Les Wicks, said: “This summer is a really exciting time for schools across Medway as all the projects get into full swing.

"It's good to see that pupils are getting involved and have had the opportunity to give their ideas to the designers as part of the process.

“The improvements at Napier and other primary and secondary schools will create excellent facilities for 21st century learning, as well providing spaces that can be used by and benefit the whole community.”

Notes:

Work is also underway at All Faiths’ Community School, Strood; Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School, Rochester; Oaklands Infant and Junior Schools, Chatham; Napier Primary School, Gillingham and Twydall Primary School, Twydall

The new projects include:

· All Faiths Community School - A new children’s centre, school hall and three new classrooms.

· Oaklands Infant and Junior Schools - New children’s centre accommodation and classroom improvements.

· Thames View Infant and Junior Schools - A new entrance area ready for the amalgamation of the Infant and Junior Schools in April 2012.