Open day for refurbished Thetford primary school

A modern new entrance, additional teaching space and light and airy classrooms are just some of the highlights of a �3.2m project to improve a Thetford school.

The Bishops CE VA Primary School, on Canterbury Way, threw open its doors today (Friday) to parents and people living nearby to join staff and pupils to celebrate the launch of the new-look building.

The majority of the money, �3.1m, was granted through the previous government's Primary Capital Programme, with the rest coming from the school and the Diocese of Norwich.

Head Clare Cook said parents, children, staff, governors and the local community had all contributed their ideas on what they wanted from the new school buildings.

'This school has always had a really bad reputation in Thetford and we wanted this to make a statement,' she added. 'I wanted this to be a beacon and over time we've built a reputation that this is the school you send your children to.

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'We're showing a sustained growth and now parents are saying they want to send their children here. I think it's raised spirits - we're proud of our school and what's going on here.'

Among the improvements to the 315-place primary school, which has seen attendance rise from 205 pupils in 2009 to 290 in 2012, are a new contemporary entrance hall and reception area.

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The layout of the school has been improved to provide 11 classrooms together with individual learning areas outside every room for teachers and groups of children to work together, away from the rest of the class.

High-tech interactive white boards, wireless internet and other improvements have been made to the school's ICT resources, there is also a new outside play area and plans are under way to transform land used to house an old teaching block, demolished as part of the refurbishment project, into community gardens or allotments.

Cabinet member for children's services at Norfolk County Council, Alison Thomas, added: 'This school is at the heart of its community, and now it has the building and contemporary state-of-the-art facilities to match the ambitions of pupils, parents and staff. It is also well equipped for the future and a growing community.'

Norfolk MEP Richard Howitt said he was 'honoured' to cut the ribbon at the school's open day event.

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