Pupils at Woolmore Primary School have been talking about the excitement of being in their wonderful new school building. The children moved in to their new surroundings, built directly next to the Victorian buildings of their former school, at the end of February – and they are still enjoying discovering the wonderful new facilities they have.
The new delights include:
•a roof terrace;
•an art room;
•a dedicated library for the first time – rather than just each classroom having a bookshelf;
•“Woodlands” – an area with dedicated rooms for counselling, sensory needs and provision for additional learning experiences including cooking and gardening.
Pupils also have an updated school logo, reflected in their new polo shirts and book bags, and all their classes are now named after trees. The nursery has returned to the school premises – it had been located off-site since September to allow the school to take on more primary school pupils before the buildings were ready to move in to.
Pupils are also looking forward to having an improved playground with a sports pitch and a running track, which will come on board in the next phases of the development. There are also plans for a permanent museum/archive display.
Now the children are in the new building, workers have moved onto the old school building, which will be demolished and landscaped to create a series of outdoor areas including nature areas, a multi-use games area and a running track. The £10million project started in July 2013 and is on schedule to be completed by July 2015.
It is estimated that there will be 8,000 more primary school age pupils in Tower Hamlets over the next ten years, and the Council is working hard to provide places for them. It has created 1,575 extra primary school places over the last four years. The new building has allowed Woolmore to increase its capacity from 240 to an eventual maximum, after a few years of increased rolls, of 700 children. Other recent primary school improvements include expansions at Bonner, Cayley and Stebon schools. There are also proposals to rebuild Olga Primary School for expansion in September 2016.
The Woolmore Primary School works have been funded from the Government’s Basic Need grant and a contribution from the Section 106 funding arising from the Blackwall Reach redevelopment. The new Woolmore Primary School was built by Bouygues UK, which had worked on secondary school improvements in the borough.
Maria Haque, eight, said: “I think it’s really great because it looks really colourful and we have more space to move around. In the old school we didn’t have that much space.”
Assel Foa, seven, said: “The roof terrace is great; we love to see the view and it’s a lovely view. My friends say how much they like the art room because in the old school we just had an art cupboard. We’ve got more space to do creative stuff.”
Woolmore headteacher Tracy Argent said of the new school: “It’s got a very happy feel to it. We were a happy school before but it’s like a big treat that we can grow and explore in this building. It can only have a positive effect on children’s learning and achievement. It’s motivating and it’s inspiring to work in a new, purpose-built building with a wide range of opportunities.”