A £1.5m project to bring together an infant and junior school - and create a stimulating and inspiring new learning environment for children - is now complete.
The project involved bringing together Moorside infant and junior schools in Ripon to one site. Funded by North Yorkshire County Council, the project involved a wide-ranging refurbishment of classrooms, cloakrooms and toilets, as well as the construction of a new extension to provide additional workspace for pupils and staff. The scheme also saw the creation a new outdoor learning environment, tailored for the school’s youngest children in the Early Years Foundation Unit.
The new, large and well-resourced outdoor space allows lessons to take place outdoors, rain or shine, with opportunities for children to learn about, and care for the local environment, as well as transfer other learning outdoors.
In March last year, the separate infant and junior schools were given the go-ahead by the County Council to amalgamate to become one primary school and nursery, following consultation with families and the wider community. It enabled Moorside to become a primary school and nursery for children aged three to 11 on the site of the junior school, with a single head and governing body.
The vacant infant site in Ripon was then turned into a new school for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), a satellite of Mowbray School, a County Council special school based in Bedale which provides SEND provision and caters for children with complex needs.
The amalgamation of the two Moorside schools provided them with a blank canvas, an opportunity to design and resource a stimulating new learning environment in a new building, with the help of the £1.5m funding from the County Council.
While current circumstances have not allowed the school to hold a formal opening for parents and the wider community to view the new facilities, there are plans for a celebration event when it is feasible to do so.
Headteacher Claire Rowett said: “After a long period of building, refurbishment and physically moving two schools into one, the outcome of the building project - to provide a primary school and nursery on one Moorside site - really is exceptional.
“The most rewarding part is seeing our children happily learning in a safe and stimulating environment, where they will grow and develop from when they begin in our Nursery up to when they leave in Year 6, ready for secondary.
“We are already seeing the positive impact of our continuous and consistent approaches in providing high quality teaching and learning for our pupils, as one school community.
“Both during and after the completion of the building work, our governors and staff team - and their families - have voluntarily invested hours into setting up our fabulous new provision, and I will be forever grateful to them for sharing our vision, and being part of what has been a memorable journey to success.
“We have also appreciated a great deal of support from our wider community, including Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and other locally-based businesses, who have also kindly donated their time and resources.
“We just can’t wait to be able to welcome previous and current members of our school and their families to see the transformation, when Covid restrictions are lifted. We feel very excited about the future.”
County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Schools said: “This development has benefited so many children and families in the Ripon area. It’s enabled the creation of a newly refurbished school with specially-designed spaces to inspire children and help them achieve their potential with the extra resources and facilities available.”