The start of a new era for a school repeatedly blighted by significant flooding was symbolically marked this week.
Somerset County Council Leader, John Osman, took part in the traditional turf-cutting ceremony on Wednesday 8 July to celebrate the beginning of construction works at the new site of the soon to be relocated Countess Gytha Primary School in Queen Camel. He was joined by Headteacher Sue English and school pupils, parents and governors, parish and district council representatives, Futures For Somerset and BAM Construction Ltd.
The current Countess Gytha Primary School is 140 years old and located in a flood zone, where the building and children’s work have been damaged by flood water in the past. The new school, located on West Camel Road and away from the flood zone, will be ready for classes by the start of the new school year in 2016.
Somerset County Council Leader, John Osman, said: “It was a privilege to mark the start of an exciting new era for the staff, children and parents of Countess Gytha Primary School. I can say with absolute confidence that we are all looking forward to the completion of this new premises, with flooding no longer casting its shadow of uncertainty.”
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, added: “The turf-cutting represented a real milestone for Countess Gytha Primary School. We’re thrilled that work has begun to bring the children a modern, more stable home which is truly fit for their learning and development.”
Mrs Sue English, Headteacher at Countess Gytha Primary School, said: “The school is excited by the prospect of the educational opportunities the replacement building brings. We believe it will secure not only the future of this generation of children but the future of many generations to come.
“It is our intention to be at the heart of all things local and with this in mind we have sought to embrace and incorporate the needs of the wider community into the design and development of the new facilities.”
The new school will feature a modern single storey school building including a pre-school area, play areas, sports courts and on-site bike storage. It will accommodate over 150 students aged 2 to 11 from the local area.
A new pedestrian crossing will be added to the West Camel Road, benefiting the school and the local community. The car park at the new site will also be larger than Somerset County Council would usually recommend, with space for staff and visitor parking and an on-site drop off and pick up area for parents, minibuses, coaches and deliveries.
Notes to editors
Photograph shows: Countess Gytha Primary School pupils, parents, governors, and Headteacher Sue English, joined by Somerset County Council Leader John Osman, BAM Construction Ltd, parish council, district council and Futures For Schools representatives, in their hard hats and high visibility with BAM Construction at the turf-cutting on Wednesday 8 June.