Double celebration as two schools become one
THE end of an era has been celebrated at two Yeovil schools this week which are amalgamating under a new name.
Tomorrow will be the last day of school for pupils at Westfield Infants and Parcroft Junior community schools.
FOND FAREWELL: Westfield Infants Community school headteacher Hilary Wildbur and area manager of education Dave Farrow cut the cake at the closing of the school celebrations. They are joined by staff and governors
MAKE A WISH: Pupils of Parcroft Junior School release balloons to mark its closure. Pictures by Laura Jones
HEADS UP: Former Parcroft Junior School headteachers Barbara Anderson, Jane Williamson and Stan Law meet with current head Gary Hobbs, second right, at the closing ceremony of the school. Picture by Laura Jones
The youngsters, aged four to 11, will return to their respective buildings in the New Year, but they will be part of Oaklands Community Primary School.
Westfield and Parcroft have provided education for thousands of children in the area over the past 50 plus years, but will be knocked down next year to create playing fields.
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They are being amalgamated to form Oaklands Community Primary School and Community Learning Centre, which has been built on fields at Parcroft. Work has been underway for the past year and staff and pupils were supposed to move in January.
But due to delays the building will not be ready and the new school, costing £8.3 million, will now open on Monday, March 1.
Prior to going into the new school pupils will have a two-week half term break in February as staff prepare the high-tech computer and teaching equipment.
Current Parcroft headteacher Gary Hobbs will become the new head for the primary school and he said he was looking forward to moving in.
He said: "I think the weather has been an issue in the past couple of months, but the builders have been working really hard. As with any building project you get delays and we want to make sure it is ready and safe.
"On Monday, January 4, we officially become Oaklands Primary School and the children will wear our new uniform, but we will be based in the current buildings and keep the same start and finish times.
"We have got an additional week off in February for staff training and to set up the equipment. The information technology will be closed off at the old schools during half term and set up in the new school during the second week.
"We have kept parents informed and have not had any complaints. The after-school club will be open the additional days and we want to make sure it is all safe and ready when they return."
The new building is also a centre for outside learning and will include an autism base.
Its energy needs are partly provided by photo-voltaic panels and it has a living roof, which naturally grows and dies back.
Mr Hobbs added: "I am really looking forward to moving in. People have really made the effort to celebrate Parcoft and Westfield's history and we are going to put a time capsule into the new school building."
On Thursday last week a farewell nativity performance was held at Westfield Infants Community School, led by headteacher Hilary Wildbur and joined by guests including area manager of education Dave Farrow.
On Monday a similar service was held at the junior school, off Summerleaze Park, and attended by former headteachers Barbara Anderson, Jane Wilkinson and Stan Law. Pupils released balloons into the air to make a wish for the new school to mark the occasion.
Demolition of the schools has to be completed by August next year and access to the new school from March will be via Linden Road and Preston Grove.