Bladon school's youngest pupils get a new classroom

Witney Gazette: Cutting the ribbon are, from left, headteacher Simon Isherwood, youngest and oldest pupils Imogene Thomas, four, and Jake McDonald , 11, and vice-chairman of the governors Bob Taylor Buy this photo » Cutting the ribbon are, from left, headteacher Simon Isherwood, youngest and oldest pupils Imogene Thomas, four, and Jake McDonald , 11, and vice-chairman of the governors Bob Taylor

THE youngest children at Bladon Primary School are celebrating after getting a classroom all to themselves.

Until the beginning of this term, foundation stage pupils in years one and two all learned together in one classroom, with years three and four sharing a class and years five and six sharing the third classroom.

But after a two-year fundraising campaign, a Scandinavian-style timber classroom has been built to house the 12 foundation stage children separately at the Park Street school.

It cost £46,000, with £10,000 being raised by the school’s friends group and the remainder coming from the school’s capital budget.

Headteacher Simon Isher-wood said: “The foundation stage have a different curriculum, so this means that we can enable that far more easily.

“The year one and two curriculum needs to be a mix of independent and formal learning whereas foundation stage curriculum has much more emphasis on child-centred learning.”

When Mr Isherwood took charge 18 months ago, the school had 68 pupils in all, with a limit of 10 per year group.

Now there are 85 children with up to 12 in each year – which Mr Isherwood said was the biggest he wanted the school to become.

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Last December, the school was ranked seventh in the country at Key Stage 2 in terms of the average points score of pupils.

At the time, Mr Isherwood said the small school ethos was key to the pupils’ success.

The most recent results show 100 per cent of pupils achieved the expected level four in English and maths at Key Stage 2, with 80 per cent achieving the higher level five in both subjects, making it the best in Oxfordshire for that measure.

Mr Isherwood said: “It needs to be a small school but we needed to be the biggest small school we could be and I think we have reached that end now. Otherwise we would lose our intimacy.”

The new building includes a wooden structured role play area and a reading hideaway, along with modern technology, with two iPad minis available.

Pupils helped to pick the new classroom’s name, Cherry, to go with the existing classrooms Apple, Oak and Willow.

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