New school praised as ‘best ever’

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A STATE-OF-THE-ART primary school was praised for its world-class features when it celebrated its official opening.

Professor Stephen Heppell, one of the country’s leading authorities on design and technology in learning, performed the unveiling ceremony at the new £7m Jesmond Gardens Primary School, in Hartlepool.

Professor Stephen Heppell with pupils Angel Stead and Brandon Bulmer

Professor Stephen Heppell with pupils Angel Stead and Brandon Bulmer

Prof Heppell worked with the school which uses a series of revolutionary design features to inspire children to learn. He said the building was “an extraordinary place”.

The school’s space has been specially designed to be welcoming, inspiring and secure.

Staff, pupils, governors and Hartlepool Borough Council’s design team worked with ADP Architects.

Traditional rows of desks have been replaced by innovative furniture and the latest computer technology.

The school has been designed around a central “heart” area used for teaching, music and drama.

Prof Heppell said: “Every idea has been tried and tested somewhere else.

“What they have done here is put them all together in the same place. That’s what really is special.

“I think the difference it makes to the children’s learning is stellar.

“It has been built by the community and it certainly shows.”

Unveiling a commemorative plaque, he added: “This is the best thing I have ever opened and I’m honoured to be here.”

A host of guests joined the school for the celebrations yesterday including Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, Hartlepool Council leader Stephen Akers-Belcher and councillors.

They saw what the school has to offer by taking a tour of the building and talking to some of its 315 pupils.

The new building was funded by the Government’s Primary Capital Programme and replaces the town’s historic school close by in Jesmond Road.

Headteacher Jane Loomes said: “It’s just such a fantastic day. I’m so proud of everything the staff and children have achieved.

“The journey has been wonderful but immense thanks must go to everybody who has helped on that journey including Stephen, the architects and the builders.

“We have used the very latest best practice in teaching methods and design, moving away from the traditional formal school layout to create a more relaxed cosy feel.

“If young people are relaxed and comfortable they learn much better.”

Chair of governors, John Ibbotson, said: “Our marvellous new building enables us to give our young people the richest possible educational experience.

“We look forward to the years ahead with great anticipation and excitement.”