Landmark school brings light, air and space to support teaching and learning

This story was published 18 January 2022

Children at Overdale Community Primary in Eastfield, Scarborough, can enjoy the benefits of both space and state-of-the-art ventilation in their new £6 million school.

Arial view of Overdale Community Primary

As pupils enjoy a second term in their new building with its emphasis on flexible use of space and outdoor learning, headteacher Vicki Logan is particularly appreciative of a building designed to provide maximum air and light into classrooms.  

The new school, which is fitted with ventilation monitoring systems in all classrooms was designed to take account of staff wishes for spacious classrooms and a hall fit for whole-school events – even with  bubbles and social distancing -  as well as more flexible break out areas for small group learning interventions.

“The whole school community is benefitting from such a beautiful new building,” she said. “It provides such a modern, safe and inspiring environment for the children’s learning. Everybody has worked so hard to make this happen.”

The school has double the capacity of the old building on its former site and its new location provides a link between the older parts of Eastfield and the new housing developments in Middle Deepdale to the north.

We opened this new landmark school at the beginning of the school year to provide places for up to 420 children plus a nursery and community facilities.

The project has been funded jointly through county council capital funds and contributions from the housing developers Kebbell Homes and Keepmoat Ltd. The principal contractors were Walter Thompson Ltd. and the design consultants Align Property Partners.

County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills said “This is the culmination of many years of planning, the result of which is a landmark building for the provision of high-quality education to the children of Eastfield.

“We are particularly pleased to have delivered this provision successfully during a difficult year in the context of the Covid pandemic.”

The school has been designed to meet the school’s current requirements but also to be able to accommodate an increased number of pupils in the future. The layout was chosen to provide maximum light and air into classrooms and to provide direct access to external teaching areas where required.  The school has a big emphasis on outdoor learning.

Vicki Logan said: “We use our outdoor space for orienteering and problem solving. We can teach numeracy and phonics outdoors, for example, and we also have two outdoor gyms.  We do a lot of learning with the children through problem solving activities, which the children often view as game playing.”

It also provides break-out spaces and classrooms for small group learning and therapeutic sessions, homework clubs and family learning.  There is a separate section of the building for community use and involvement.

The new building also enables Overdale to continue with innovate work using in-house speech and language therapists to support children in school who arrive in their early years with poor language and communication skills.  The therapists also develop the speech and language development skills of school staff and work with parents and carers to help their children.

Overdale has accessed Opportunity Area funding of £640k since 2017 that created a speech and language therapy hub with 24 primary schools across the Scarborough district. Opportunity Areas were established four years ago with a focus on social mobility to raise aspirations and teaching and learning for children and young people across the UK.

Although the Opportunity Area funding for speech and language therapy has now reduced – the programme comes to an end next summer -  the new Overdale building with its bespoke spaces is supporting the school to continue the therapy with children which it now funds largely through its own budget.

Vicki Logan said: “If we get in early we can give children a chance to realise and achieve their potential.  If children can speak and listen well, they will read, write and comprehend with higher levels of success as they move through their school years.”

Local County Councillor Tony Randerson said: “I am absolutely delighted with this brand new school for the children of Eastfield and it is no more than they deserve.

“I recall some 8 years ago when I first started lobbying the county council for this school with an argument that it was  definitely going to be required because of  the massive Middle Deepdale housing development in Eastfield taking place, with thousands of new family homes being built.

“It is therefore very pleasing that my continued lobbying has payed dividends and at long last Eastfield has this fantastic new facility which includes a community wing too.

“My sincere thanks to everyone who made this possible.”