Community Celebrates New School

The Bishop of Exeter and the Chair of Devon County Council unveil a plaque. The Bishop of Exeter and the Chair of Devon County Council unveil a plaque.

Posted on: 11 July 2019

Okehampton’s new primary school has been officially opened by the Chair of Devon County Council and the Bishop of Exeter.

St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School celebrated with pupils, parents, staff, governors and members of the local community.

The Bishop of Exeter, the Right Revd Robert Atwell, led prayers for the school and performed the blessing of the school cross which has been handcrafted out of Devon Oak by local group, Men in Sheds.

Bishop Atwell said: “It is clear to me that St James is a school that has been embraced by the community it serves. It is a school in which everyone is valued and encouraged to respect and care for the natural environment. This provides an excellent foundation to develop an outstanding school and I look forward to seeing it develop and thrive.”

The new St James Primary and Nursery in Okehampton

The new St James Primary and Nursery in Okehampton

The Chair of Devon County Council, John Mathews, said: “Okehampton is a growing town and St James will provide much-needed extra primary school places. It has been a real partnership and I am delighted that Devon County Council has been able to play a significant role in helping bring the school to fruition. It is wonderful to see how the whole area has come together in support of the school and make it part of the community .”

The naturalist and TV presenter Nick Baker was a special guest at the ceremony and he spoke of the importance of connecting with the environment and praised the school for its environmental ethos and its desire to make the most of its stunning natural environment.

Pupils help cut the celebratory cake

Pupils help cut the celebratory cake

Pupils played a central role in the ceremony and performed a medley of songs, after which they helped Head of School, Suzie Stevens, to cut a specially commissioned cake.

Executive Head, Hazel Fox, said “Today is a wonderful celebration of a dream come true. It is fantastic to see the school putting outdoor learning and the environment at the heart of its curriculum and I know that the children have already benefited from this innovative approach. As we prepare to admit our second cohort and open our nursery, it will be exciting to see more and more children flourish in the school.”

Chair of Governors John Searson said “St James has benefited from a huge outpouring of love and support from the whole community. We have been humbled by the many generous contributions of time, practical support, donated equipment and beautiful handcrafted pieces and wish to express our heartfelt thanks and commitment to serving our community by developing a school of which Okehampton and the hamlets can be proud.”

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