It is an exciting time for schoolchildren up and down the country as they settle into the new school year with new teachers and classmates. But for pupils at Rykneld Primary School in Branston, Burton-on-Trent, this term has been particularly memorable – they have been treated to a whole new wing of their school as well.
The two storey extension, delivered by St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, was officially opened by Ben Adams, cabinet member for education and skills at Staffordshire County Council, on Friday 2nd October.
The new school wing will increase capacity at the school by 160 places and is part of St. Modwen’s work at Branston Leas, a 280 acre site that is being transformed into a brand new community, with homes, shops, play areas, woodland and employment space.
Ian Romano, senior development surveyor at St. Modwen, joined Cllr Adams, Rykneld Primary School’s head teacher Gary Staddon, school governors and pupils at the ceremony.
Invited guests were treated to a tour of the new facilities as well as a performance from the school choir who sang a medley of songs.
Pupils also presented the items they had selected to be buried in a specially designed time capsule. The items were chosen because they either summed up the year 2015 or life at Rykneld Primary School.
Items including pupils’ own artwork and a signed Burton Albion Football Club shirt were buried and will be dug up in 50 years’ time in order for future generations to see what life was like when the extension building was completed.
Ian Romano, senior development surveyor at St. Modwen, said, “2015 is turning into a milestone year for our Branston Leas development. Along with St. Modwen Homes delivering the first 67 of the 660 properties planned for Branston Leas, and submitting a planning application for 204 more, we have planted the first trees in the new Branston Leas Woods with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
“We have also completed the first ever community sports pavilion in Branston at Clays Lane, finished the A38 infrastructure works and started the construction of the first building at Burton Gateway, the 1 million sq ft industrial park. This is the kind of regeneration that makes a big difference to communities.”
The new two-storey extension to the school includes 10 new classrooms, extra staff and pupil support rooms and a large sports hall. Existing outside sports facilities have also been enhanced with the creation of an all-weather pitch and improved hard and soft play areas.
Ben Adams, cabinet member for education and skills at Staffordshire County Council, said, “It was a real honour to open Rykneld Primary School’s new extension building, which has created a wonderful learning environment and will help meet the increasing demand for primary spaces in the Branston community.
“I very much enjoyed the choir’s performance and hearing why the pupils had chosen certain items to be buried in the time capsule until 2065.”
Gary Staddon, head teacher at Rykneld Primary School, said: “The additional primary school places will increase capacity at the school from 470 to 630, including 23 places for reception-age children. The new facilities are already making a big difference to our school, and pupils, parents and teachers are all really pleased.”
The extension of Rykneld Primary School is part of St. Modwen’s wider Branston Leas development, which includes the Branston Square retail centre; the creation of up to 660 new three, four and five bedroom homes; Branston Leas Woods and the 1 million sq ft Burton Gateway Industrial Park.