Building of massive new primary school for 420 children starts

The groundbreaking ceremony at the new Thurston Primary Academy. Pictured are Philip Mackay, chief e

The groundbreaking ceremony at the new Thurston Primary Academy. Pictured are Philip Mackay, chief executive of Thedwastre Education Trust; Ian Barber, project manager at Concertus Design and Property Consultants Ltd; Grace, a student from Thurston Primary School; Mark Bailey, director at Barnes Construction; and co-headteachers of the school John Bayes and Kathy Lambert. Picture: WARREN PAGE/PAGEPIX - Credit: Archant

Building work at the new Thurston Primary Academy - which will allow it to double the number of children it teaches - has got under way.

Suffolk County Council is relocating the academy from its existing School Lane site to larger area in Norton Road to accommodate the huge expansion, which will see the school go from being able to accommodate 210 pupils to 420.

It will also include a new, standalone 30-place pre-school, with builders Barnes Construction hosting a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the landmark project this month.

The need for the new school, which is due to be completed by summer 2021, was driven by the expected housing growth in the area, which is likely to lead to a pressure on school places.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said at the time the planning application for the new school was approved in March: “The existing school is forecast to be oversubscribed in the next few years and additional school places are required to accommodate pupils arising from housing developments within the catchment area which have planning approval.”

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Councillor Mary Evans, cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council, said there would “also be room for future expansion to a total of 630 students at the school and 60 places in the pre-school if demand requires”.

She added that it would “play a key role in the community”.

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Kathy Lambert and John Bayes, co-headteachers at Thurston Primary Academy, said in a statement: “We are delighted that the new school project has reached this milestone.

“We have a huge amount of support from staff, parents, pupils and governors and are looking forward to moving into our new school.”

Ian Barber, project manager at Concertus Design and Property Consultants, said: “The new Thurston Primary School will provide a modern learning environment for local children and the larger school site will help deal with the expansion in the area.

“The school has been designed with the forest school identity at heart, featuring tree saplings grown by the children which will be planted on site and a large number of mature trees retained on the school site to maintain the feeling of a forest school.”

A spokesman for Thurston Parish Council said: “Thurston Parish Council welcomes the news that work is underway on the construction of the new Thurston Primary Academy.

“Thurston is undergoing an unprecedented level of residential development with a considerable number of these homes already under construction.

“It is essential that all residents, new and existing, have access to the local services that they need to live successful, safe and healthy lives in the community

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