New £7 million ‘fabulous’ Dartington school opens

Children, who are unidentifiable, playing in the school play ground

Posted on: 18 May 2018

Pupils and staff have moved into Dartington’s new £7 million primary school.

The school had to be re-built after the previous ‘eco-building’ developed serious faults and had to be demolished.

Children have been learning in temporary accommodation on an adjacent site in the meantime.

The headteacher of the Church of England school, Jill Mahon, said: “It’s a fabulous building.

“As a school we have continued to be focused on teaching and learning and the architects and builders have really delivered a building that is in line with our vision of how this works best.

“The 12 classrooms all have access to their own outside space with lovely views. We have a studio, pastoral room, library, spacious hall, Forest School areas and hard play sports courts.”

Mrs Mahon said all through the building and demolition processes the children had been involved and the school had made it a learning process for them.

The children had specifically asked for outside space and no toilet blocks and this had been delivered in the new building.

“We have been supported really well by everyone through this,” she said.

“The parents have been really positive and the community has been 100 per cent supportive.

“Throughout the process we have taught in a variety of accommodation and have always explained to the children that they are the school. These were just empty buildings until they moved in and it became their school.”

The school packed up 850 crates in one day and moved into the new building taking just one more day to unpack.

“The teamwork has been incredible,” said Mrs Mahon.

The long-term disruption has not been allowed to affect the children’s learning.

In their last report, Ofsted inspectors said Dartington provided outstanding care and high academic standards.

Every aspect of life at the school was good with outstanding features, they said.

Senior teacher, Maz Foucher, said moving into the new building had made a real difference to the children.

“They just seem at home already, after just a few days,” she said. “It’s a great learning space.”

Pupils from Year 6 have had a number of homes during their school career.

Hugo Cole said: “We’ve waited quite a long time but it was worth it.”

Beth Read said: “The new school is much more modern and much bigger. It suits all the different people in the school with classrooms for us to learn in groups and lots of quiet rooms for those who like smaller groups.”

Max Larder said: “The classrooms have more room and there’s more space and quiet rooms.”

And Daisy Johnson said: “There’s a lot more places to play.”

Devon County Council’s Cabinet member for schools, James McInnes, said: “I am delighted that the children are now in their new school.

“I would like to pay tribute to Jill Mahon for her leadership and to all the staff and children and their families for their support.

“It is a mark of the commitment of the teachers and staff that Ofsted gave the school such a positive report on their last visit and they never allowed the physical disruption to affect the children’s learning.”

Posted in: DCC Homepage | Education