The new primary phase building at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) was formally handed over by construction firm Midas on 15th July, in good time for the first intake of 30 Reception-aged pupils to start in the second week of September.
Funding for new primary-age school provision on the BSCS site was secured in July 2013, when it was confirmed that South Gloucestershire Council had made a successful bid to the government’s £982 million Targeted Basic Need (TBN) programme, which is intended to provide more school places in areas of high demand.
The new building has been constructed on an area that was previously used as a secondary car park for the main school. Planning permission was granted on 1st August 2014, allowing the secondary parking area and cycle storage that were previously on the site to be moved to the opposite side of the main school building during the summer holidays. Construction of the primary phase building then commenced in September 2014.
An ‘all through’ school
The addition of the new building has transformed BSCS into an ‘all through’ school for the 4-19 age range.
Secondary phase students were kept informed about the primary phase build project, and the progress being made on it, through whole-school assemblies, and Post-16 students whose area of study had relevance to the construction industry (maths, engineering etc.) were given the opportunity to tour the new building regularly.
The headteacher for the BSCS primary phase, Sharon Clark, was appointed to the role in December 2014 and formally took up her post in April. She has worked closely with Meadowbrook Primary School (also a member of the Olympus Academy Trust, to which BSCS belongs) to share expertise and learning ahead of welcoming the first cohort of primary-aged pupils to BSCS in September.
The school has also appointed Geraldine Rogers as Reception teacher and Nicola Burge as teaching assistant. The three teaching staff will be joined by a number of administrative staff moving across from the main BSCS building.
Over a hundred applications were made for the 30 Reception class places available in September 2015.
Primary-age children at BSCS will wear a plain white polo shirt (with optional BSCS logo) and the same teal coloured sweater as the secondary phase students.
All classrooms in the new building will be equipped with wi-fi and iPads and the school says the primary-age curriculum will include lots of extra opportunities in addition to the foundations of reading, writing and numeracy, with baby ballet, sports coaching and Irish dancing already arranged. Pupils will also benefit from a comprehensive Forest School programme, thanks to the close proximity of Savages Wood.
Year 7 pupils have already created lots of artwork (caricatures based on real head and shoulder photos of the new pupils) to display in classrooms so that the new pupils feel welcome and the building feels “lived in”.
The school says there will be plenty of opportunities for pupils to engage with older students through learning and enrichment as the school grows.
A spokesperson said: “Integration will be key, and will ensure that the transition from Year 6 to Year 7 is seamless. Traditionally, students experience a dip in progress between these two years as they acclimatise to a new school, make new friends etc. Our pupils will not face that at all, which can only benefit their progress and achievement.”
Start and finish times for the new primary phase (which has its own ‘walk-through’ entrance) have been staggered from those of the secondary phase, to ease potential congestion. The provision of optional ‘wrap around care’ from 7.30am to 6pm will also help by extending the period over which pupils arrive and depart.
The first day in school for the new primary-age intake will be on 9th September and pupils will spend their first full day in school on 21st September, which will be celebrated with a balloon launch.
An official launch event for the primary phase will take place in October, when pupils will help bury a time capsule in the grounds.
Photos: (1) Entrance to the new primary phase building at BSCS. (2) Pupils due to start in the Reception class September try out a play area in one of the classrooms.
This article originally appeared in the August 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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