£1.5m facelift transforms learning

Pupils at The Heys are benefiting from a £1.5m investment to transform learning and wellbeing activities.

School has undergone major building work to create five extra classrooms, a bespoke library and a unit dedicated to offering additional support to those who need it.

The renovations have also provided an opportunity to pay tribute to two much-loved members of staff who died during the pandemic.

The cash was spent over the last school year, drawing on funding from the local authority, government school capital funding and school’s own funds.   

Headteacher Miss Rachel Evans said the investment, carried out with support from the Rowan Learning Trust, has made a huge difference.

She said: “We’ve been able to re-develop the building in a way we never thought possible thanks to support from the trust and their expert management. The building was looking a bit tired but now we have vibrant, exciting areas where children can learn and socialise, and receive support to assist their wellbeing. We can’t wait to see the impact this renovation work has on our school community for years to come and look forward to seeing pupils enjoying the new facilities.”

The work has included replacing outdated portable buildings with five new maths classrooms and equipping them with high quality interactive resources.

A classroom and a former staffroom have also been combined and refurbished to create a spacious library to replace the previous much smaller library area.

The new facility, which is hoped to become a real focal point, now provides space for pupils to read, play board games and chat to friends, as well as areas for one-to-one sessions for those who need additional support.

Pupils and student librarians were involved in identifying the activities they would like to see in the new library and choosing books to be stocked, and there are plans to invite authors and poets to run sessions.

Some of the funding has gone to creating multipurpose inclusion rooms that offer bespoke support such as sensory areas, as well as space for classroom-based work and social activities. 

Work has also focused on creating The Bridge, an inhouse facility to help pupils at risk of exclusion re-engage with education and avoid being excluded from school. Pupils using The Bridge will still have a broad and balanced curriculum with bespoke support and intervention to help them return to the classroom. 

Pupils have also been involved in creating a ‘Heys heroes’ wall, which will feature pupils and staff who are nominated weekly.

Miss Evans said the investment had also provided opportunity to pay tribute to two previous members of staff.

She added: “We’ve been delighted to name two of our buildings after Mrs Jane Wilson, who was PA to the last two headteachers and epitomised the core values of the school, and Geoff Barlow, a former headteacher who committed a huge amount of his life to the school. 

“The new facilities have become all I hoped they would be and more.”