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'Milestone moment' as building of new primary school in Newbury is completed

Project finally finished after three years of delays

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper

dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk

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'Milestone moment' as building of new primary school is completed

THERE was a ‘milestone moment’ this week as work to build a new £7.7m primary school in Newbury was finally completed.

The school, called Highwood Copse, will open in September 2021 – three years later than originally planned.

The first intake will be for children in the Reception class, who will be the founder members of the school.

They will be joined by each new cohort of children as the school gradually expands to its full capacity.

West Berkshire Council’s executive member for children, young people and education Dominic Boeck said: “This is a milestone moment.

“We have invested £7.7m in Highwood Copse and are delighted with the result, which will provide a lasting legacy of learning.

“As the local education authority, we are committed to providing the very best education for our children.

“Our commissioning of Highwood Copse is clear evidence of that.”

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.

However, the project has been 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 last year when Dawnus entered administration.

In March this 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.

Highwood Copse will be run by Newbury College Academy Trust (NCAT) and the leadership team has already been announced.

Catherine Morley will be leading the school, while Serraphina Robinson will take on the role of head of school.

Mrs Morley is also headteacher for Theale Primary School and Enborne Primary School.

She said: “We are thrilled to be able to start preparing the inside of the school for the learning journey and creating the finishing touches to ensure the children joining us in September 2021 are equipped with everything they need to succeed.”

Chairman of NCAT board and principal of Newbury College Iain Wolloff said: “The trust would like to thank West Berkshire Council for their fantastic contribution throughout the development and Feltham Construction Ltd for completing a stunning build.

“This is an excellent opportunity to expand the provision of primary school education in West Berkshire.

“We are confident that the pupils from 2021 and beyond will have a fantastic experience as they are encouraged to explore and excel.”

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