A NEW £300,000 classroom designed specifically for young children has opened today.

The building, to be used by Bright Start Pre-School in Carterton, will provide a space for children under the ages of five to learn and play.

Jointly funded by Oxfordshire County Council (£209,000) and the pre-school (£100,000), the building is situated in the grounds of the nearby Gateway Primary School.

The building – which will be able to accommodate up to 48 children – was unveiled by the pre-school’s chairs, Trish Davies and Naomi Voysey.

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Jo Laurel, manager of Bright Start Pre-School, said: “This is an exciting day for everyone associated with the pre-school.

“It completes what we feel is a unique and diverse environment for the children, including outdoor reading area and a forest learning zone, shared with Gateway School.

“We regularly visit the local library and shops, and invite firefighters, police, paramedics and other professionals to enhance the children’s learning.

“The new classroom will be perfect for these guest speakers, helping them to create an interactive experience for their young and enthusiastic audience.”

Since the project first started in March 2016, Georgina Isbister, the pre-school’s deputy manager, said ‘years and years of bakes and summer fetes’ have gone into raising the money for the new building.

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An Ofsted inspection of the pre-school was carried out in June, with the setting rated ‘good’.

The Ofsted report read: “Children arrive happy and are eager to enter the pre-school.

“Staff have high expectations for children, who are very sociable with each other and the staff team.

“Children feel safe and secure, and are extremely confident in this warm and loving environment.

“Staff genuinely enjoy their time with the children, who demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in this pre-school.”

Liz Brighouse, the county council’s cabinet member for children, education and young people’s services, said: “I’m delighted that pre-school children in Carterton will be able to enjoy making friends and gaining an understanding of the world around them in these new premises.

“The Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance has made providing top of the class learning and teaching environments a priority for Oxfordshire, and Carterton is one of many communities that will benefit from modernised and new classrooms over the next few years.”

After opening in 1974, the pre-school previously ran from Brownes Hall, until using space at Gateway in recent years.

The pre-school will offer wrapround care for pupils at Gateway, with breakfast and after school clubs provided.

Parents and guardians can find out more about Bright Start Pre-School by emailing brightstart@tiscali.co.uk or by calling 07977 967340.