New state primary boarding school set to welcome first pupils
PUBLISHED: 10:28 05 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:52 07 September 2020
A new state primary boarding school in Norfolk - set to be the first of its kind - is set to welcome its first pupils with the start of the new term.
Wymondham College Prep School, which when fully open will offer boarding places for eight to 10-year-olds, will see 60 new reception age pupils take their first steps into the classroom.
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Sapientia Education Trust (SET), which is behind the new school, eventually plans to offer 452 day places and 32 places for boarders, on the Wymondham College campus in Morley St Boltoph.
Construction is under way on a £9 million new building but the first pupils will be in temporary classrooms that used to be Wymondham College’s music block.
SET chief executive Jonathan Taylor said: “We started the planning back in 2016 and it was approved by the Department for Education in 2017, so to have the first cohort of pupils coming in is tremendously exciting.
“We have had overwhelming community support for the school. It was heavily oversubscribed so that gives a really strong foundation for the school to open.
“What we are doing is starting with reception and building year on year so eventually the school will have 452 pupils when it is full.”
The project will eventually create 70 full-time jobs and comes after Norfolk County Council identified a need for two new primary schools in the area.
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The school will welcome its first 16 boarding pupils next year. Parents will be charged £11,000 a year for pupils’ accommodation and food - which is roughly a third of school fees in the private sector.
Its new headteacher Alex Wilson, who previously worked at the fee-paying Norwich School, has been working to make sure the new classrooms both compile with coronavirus measures and are welcoming for the first 60 youngsters.
Mr Taylor said: “The classrooms are looking fantastic. The pupils will not know anything that is different in terms of the new arrangements, but as with any other school there are rigorous risk assessments in place and all the measures, but we are just excited to get going and to have the children in.”
Mr Wilson said pupils will benefit from a broad curriculum that contains lessons in music, French, dance, character and games, with an emphasis on education that enables the ‘whole child’ to develop.
He said: “Despite not being able to hold on-site induction days, we have made great use of online technologies throughout the previous summer term, regularly engaging with their children and families.
“The school’s staff really enjoyed the chance to meet the children and to learn so much about them prior to their arrival.”
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