School goes batty over �2.8m facelift

A village school in North Norfolk has beaten spending cuts and bats to unveil a new �2.8m rebuild.

Aldborough primary still has its Victorian frontage, but the revamp on has created five new classrooms, a forum, new library, audio studio and larger hall with stage lighting - now being used to good effect with the school nativity and pantomime.

It also brings the nursery into the main building and is sweeping away a trio of old 'mobiles', saving the 132 children having to dash outside to get between different parts of the 100-year-old site.

Head Tina Casburn said the modernised school was 'breathtakingly beautiful' while retaining its historic charm.

The project was funded by a government primary capital fund, with a successful bid based on the performing arts - but has its share of dramas along the way.

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When builders went to knock down a PE store, they found roosting pipestrelle bats. Dealing with the protected species delayed the start of building works from June 2009 to February this year.

It meant some of the project costs had to be re-channelled into providing a replacement store to preserve the roosting spot.

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'We have already seen one near there, so the bats are happy too,' said Mrs Casburn.

Ofsted inspectors also called while the school was a building site, but it passed with flying colours getting a good rating.

'Because we were identified as a high achieving school, we were able to spend money on luxuries,' she added.

The new performance facilities meant they would be able to do better productions in front of bigger audiences.

The school also felt very lucky to have got its funding ahead of spending cuts, said the head.

An official reopening of the school, designed by NPS Group and build by T Gill and Son, was held yesterday with children performing a spectacular ceremony in the playground before pupil Nancy Metcalf snipped the ribbon, before parents guests toured the site.

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