Pupils and headteachers have taken part in a ground-breaking event to celebrate the start of construction at Thurston CEVC (Church of England Voluntary Controlled) Primary Academy. Suffolk County Council is relocating the existing school to a larger site to accommodate the expansion of the school, increasing the number of permanent placements from 210 pupils to 420 pupils. There will also be a new standalone 30 place Pre School, operated by Thurston Pre School in addition to their existing facility in the village.
Barnes Construction has been awarded the contract to build the scheme and will be working alongside Concertus Design and Property Consultants Ltd, who will be providing multidisciplinary services including Project Management on behalf of the client, Suffolk County Council.
Mark Bailey, Director at Barnes Construction said “We are thrilled to once again, be working with Suffolk County Council and Concertus on another new school to meet the needs of the local communities in mid-Suffolk. We are looking forward to using the work we are doing on site as an opportunity to involve and educate young people about how exciting construction can be”.
This expansion was driven by the anticipated housing developments in the area and will guarantee the continuity of school provision within the village as well as reduce further congestion in the area. The new school will be located on Norton Road, adjacent to the Linden Homes development and opposite the Hopkins housing development.
Kathy Lambert and John Bayes, Co-Head teachers at Thurston CEVC Primary Academy said “We are delighted that the new school project has reached this milestone. It has been extremely exciting to work closely with the infrastructure team, Suffolk County Council and Concertus Design and Property Consultants, who have been fantastic at guiding us step by step in order to reach this point on the Thurston C of E Primary Academy relocation and expansion. We look forward to working with Barnes as they start to build our new school. We have a huge amount of support from staff, parents, pupils and governors and are looking forward to moving into our new school”.
The existing 210 place Primary school is on a constrained site which dictates that it is not suitable for expansion. This resulted in a strategic decision with the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich to relocate and expand the existing school to provide the necessary additional school places.
Ian Barber, Project Manager at Concertus said “The new Thurston Primary School will provide a modern learning environment for local children and the larger school site will help deal with the expansion in the area. The school has been designed with the forest school identity at heart, featuring tree saplings grown by the children which will be planted on site and a large number of mature trees retained on the school site to maintain the feeling of a forest school”.
This relocation welcomes the opportunity to be able to accommodate future expansion.
A representative from Thurston Parish Council said “Thurston Parish Council welcomes the news that work is underway on the construction of the new Thurston Primary Academy. Thurston is undergoing an unprecedented level of residential development with a considerable number of these homes already under construction. It is essential that all residents, new and existing, have access to the local services that they need to live successful, safe and healthy lives in the community. We are pleased that the new Thurston Primary Academy will be a high-quality addition to the range of services available in Thurston and we hope that it will be of benefit to the whole community”.
Cllr. Mary Evans, Cabinet Member for Education said “The school is an exciting development that will serve the existing and new community of over 800 houses within the area and play a key role in developing the community. The school will initially accommodate 420 students, plus a 30-place pre-school. There will also be room for future expansion to a total of 630 students at the school and 60 places in the pre-school if demand requires. Its location will allow many students and parents to walk to and from the school. It represents one of a series of new primary schools being planned in Suffolk by 2029, with other areas including Chilton Leys, Lakenheath, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and the Ipswich Garden Suburb”.
The project is expected to complete and hand over by Summer 2021 in preparation for the new academic year.