The story of a new £5 million primary school in Liverpool is told in a new book written by three of its pupils.
‘Our New School’ has been penned by children in years two, four and six at New Park Primary School in Kensington and published following a story writing competition.
The new building – which is being officially opened by Mayor Joe Anderson on Wednesday 4 November – replaces the previous Victorian structure which was over 100 years old and costing a lot of money to maintain.
Pupils will also unveil a special sculpture detailing the remarkable history of the school’s site. In the 1800s it was home to Liverpool Botanical Gardens – which was second only to Kew Gardens in London in terms of the quality of its collection, and Liverpool Zoological Gardens which had caged lions and tigers with antelope running free.
The new school includes a dedicated cooking room, 4D immersive learning space, outdoor classrooms with canopies and a ‘Spanish Step’ area for assemblies and performances.
It is part of a £169 million scheme which is seeing 17 new and refurbished schools funded through a mix of investment from the Government and contributions from the council.
Headteacher Karen Hutchings said: “We are all so proud of our new school and have been fortunate to have had so much say in its design and creating the learning spaces.
“Everyone who comes into the building absolutely loves it and the feedback we’ve had from parents and pupils is absolutely fabulous.
“I can’t emphasise enough how much of a transformation it is compared to what we had before. Our outdoor space was a concrete jungle, whereas now we have different areas where children can play games or just sit and read quietly if they want to.
“It’s a great building for our children to be taught in.”
The school has a timber frame and an energy efficient design, helping reduce heating bills because it is well insulated.
Almost all of the subcontractor work – 95 percent – has been spent with firms in Liverpool city region, benefiting local companies and meaning that workers benefit from the scheme.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “This is a fantastic new school for Kensington and is a major boost for present and future generations of young people.
“I am so pleased that the school are delighted with the new facilities, improving their surroundings and enabling them to use the latest technology to deliver a fantastic education to their children.”
Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for education, employment and skills, said: “This is a badly needed new school giving young people in Kensington a brilliant start to their education.
“We have also made sure that the vast majority of the work has been carried out by contractors based in Liverpool City Region, so that the money we have spent has been recycled into the local economy and created opportunities for young people though apprenticeships.”
The other schools already completed under the Schools Investment Programme are:
• Notre Dame Catholic College (Sept 2013)
• Abbots Lea Special School (Sept 2013)
• Archbishop Beck Sports College (Sept 2014)
• St John Bosco Arts College (Sept 2014)
• Millstead (September 2014)
• Holly Lodge Girls’ College (January 2015)
• Northway Primary (June 2015)
• Archbishop Blanch C of E High School (Sept 2015)
• St Hilda’s C of E High School (Sept 2015)
• SFX (September 2015)
• Redbridge High Community Special School (Sept 2015)
• Bank View High Special School (Sept 2015)
Projects still to be completed are Aigburth High Special School (mid 2016), a new sixth form block at Bellerive Catholic College (May 2016) and St Julie’s Catholic College and Palmerston Special School (Easter 2017).