Queen Camel children give Frances a tour of their new school

Pupils at a South Somerset school hit by significant flooding have proudly shown off their brand-new school following a £4million investment by Somerset County Council.

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Children at the new Countess Gytha Primary School in Queen Camel invited the local community, including parents, governors and residents, for an enthusiastic tour of their exciting build on Wednesday (8 June).

Among them was Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, who joined Year 5 and 6 pupils Ben and Louis and Mike Lewis from SCC’s Property Services, for a special tour of the impressive new build. Pupils, staff and parents marked their first day in their new school with an afternoon of song and dance, ending with a blessing and followed by a village-themed tea party.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “It was just wonderful to see the new school in all its glory, so special thanks to Ben and Louis for my tour! It’s a really refreshing design with lots of light, colour, air and space, and high ceilings, which are a little reminiscent of a Victorian school building – though obviously much more modern!

“Everyone has worked so hard to make this project a reality. From the Countess Gytha community and our teams at SCC, to BAM Construction, who did the heavy lifting, and Futures For Somerset who ran the project. It’s lovely to see how energised and excited children, staff and the community are to see it in its finished form. I hope the children thoroughly enjoy making this their new home.”

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Sue English, Head teacher at Countess Gytha said: “We were delighted that so many came to share in the opening of our new school. The fact that people had to travel a distance or take time off of work to be with us serves to remind us  of  just how important this school is to the whole community.

“Throughout the planning, building and now the opening of the school, our aim has remained steadfast; to raise the quality of educational opportunity for every child.  We want all our pupils to achieve their full potential.  Our mission is to provide practical and theoretical step by step assistance to all our learners and to help guide them towards a brighter future. Our task now is to make that aim a reality.”

The new school, built by BAM Construction Ltd, is a modern single storey school building with a pre-school area, play areas, sports courts, and bike storage. There will be a pedestrian crossing on West Camel Road for the school and community. The car park at the new site has space for staff and visitor parking and an on-site drop off and pick up area for parents, minibuses, coaches and deliveries.

Countess Gytha’s original school structure is 140 years-old and located in a flood zone. The building and children’s work were damaged by flood water in the past.