Woods Loke Primary School’s building dream comes true

LESS than a year ago, it still felt like a distant dream.

But months of hard work and fundraising came to fruition at Woods Loke Primary in Oulton Broad as it held a grand opening ceremony to mark the official unveiling of its new building.

Last June, The Journal reported that the school had been forced to resort to its own fundraising efforts to expand its hall to cater for more than 130 new pupils under the county council's School Organisational Review (SOR).

Since then, thousands of pounds have been raised thanks to the efforts of staff, pupils, parents and supporters – and last Thursday, the school celebrated the opening of the brand new building.

The new facilities include four classrooms for pupils in Years 5 and 6 with a shared activity area, new toilets and a new 180 sq m hall that is big enough for full-school assemblies as well as PE and other activities.

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The hall – which is bigger than originally planned – will also be let to the local community.

Headteacher Mark Prentice, who did a parachute jump to help with the fundraising, said: 'This is a very exciting part of the school's history, as we now officially welcome years five and six. When the school was first built 40 years ago, I believe it had years five and six, so we've come full circle.'

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He added: 'As a school and community we fought hard for our principles and for what we believe is a suitable building and environment for our children and future generations.

'It's wonderful to celebrate a good news story and report upon a successful partnership between the school, the county council, and the building team.'

The school's first headteacher, Basil Southey, and his successor Terry Cant both attended last week's event, along with invited guests and governors. They helped cut a ribbon to mark the occasion, along with Mr Prentice, the school's oldest pupil Shannon Harrison, and its oldest serving member of staff, Eve Youngs, who still comes in every week to play the piano. A commemorative plaque was unveiled, and Shannon and fellow pupil Anya Millard Nash wrote a poem to commemorate the event.

Mr Prentice also praised Barnes Construction for making 'all of our dreams come true' and PICK Everard Architects. The next stage in the plans was to create a new changing room next to the hall, he said.

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