New primary school for Newbury as Highwood Copse welcomes its first pupils
Newbury's newest primary school has welcomed its first pupils.
The founder members of Highwood Copse joined the reception class last week, as schools across the district returned after the summer holidays.
The new £7.7m school, which is run by Newbury College Academy Trust (NCAT), has been built on dedicated grounds within the college.
Head of school at Highwood Copse, Serraphina Robinson, said she was delighted that the children were now able to join the new school.
"We are so delighted that it is now time for the children of Highwood Copse to enjoy their school," she said. "We have created a fantastic learning environment where they can become lifelong learners, adventuring down any path their ambitions take them."
The building work at the school was finally completed in November 2020 and it opens three years later than originally planned.
The first intake in the reception class will be joined by each new cohort of children as the school gradually expands to its full capacity.
Dominic Boeck (Con, Aldermaston), the council's executive member for children, young people and education, said: "This is the day we've been waiting for.
"When the children arrive is when all the hopes and hard work come to fruition and become a lasting legacy of learning."
Chair of NCAT board and principal of Newbury College, Iain Wolloff, added: "We are pleased to welcome the founder members of Highwood Copse as they start their learning journey, explore their fantastic environment and excel, in the capable hands of the Highwood Copse Team."
It was previously hoped that the purpose-built school for children aged four to 11 would be ready to welcome its first pupils in September 2018.
But, the project was hit by a series of setbacks.
West Berkshire Council originally appointed Kier to carry out the works, but retendered the contract due to “escalating building costs”.
Dawnus Construction was then appointed to build Highwood and work began in August 2018.
However, it stopped in March 2019 when Dawnus entered administration.
In March last year, Newbury-based Feltham Construction Ltd was appointed to finish the job, but just as it was making progress the coronavirus pandemic hit and work stopped once more.
To find out more about Highwood Copse Primary School, visit www.highwoodcopse.co.uk