Staff and pupils at Chestnut Park Primary School in Croydon have more than reasons than most to look forward to the imminent end of term, as it will mark the end of their first year of existence – and the beginning of a whole new chapter at the school’s permanent home.
Chestnut Park, which is run by the Surrey-based GLF Schools multi-academy trust, opened on its current temporary site last September, and under the leadership of head teacher Esther Brooks, the school has enjoyed a lively and exciting first year in operation.
“Our motto at Chestnut Park is Dream, Achieve, Inspire and that’s something I’m very proud to say we’ve all worked towards making happen this year,” said Mrs Brooks.
“Being a brand new school, everything has had that air of novelty and first-time excitement for us, from the children’s first Christmas performance to singing at the Fairfield Hall a few weeks ago. That enthusiasm has really shown up in their work, too – we encourage them to aim high and they have done. We’ve seen them grow and progress every day, so to reach the end of our first year – and know there is so much more to look forward to – is hugely exciting for us all.”
That new future will take place at Chestnut Park’s permanent basis on the old St Mary’s hospital site on St James’s Road, where not only will pupils have brand new state of the art facilities, including 21 new classrooms, but they will also be joined by their new cohort of reception children.
“Every day the children have been bussed in to our current home from the site of the new one, so it’s already been part of their first year - they’ve seen it going up brick by brick and are very excited at the prospect of moving into it,” Mrs Brooks added.
“A school is something that should grow and become part of its local surroundings, so it’s a nice touch that it’s going to be on the site of the old hospital, which did exactly the same thing. We’re going to keep the hospital’s foundation stone as part of our building, and we’d love to hear from anyone who was born there, as part of our school story.”
Mrs Brooks said the response to its opening had been extremely encouraging.
“I’ve been around community and childcare groups spreading the word and the levels of interest and take-up of places have been excellent,” she said. “This means the word is spreading about Chestnut Park, and we’re really starting to put down roots locally. So many people have worked on making it a success already, I’m already looking forward to the start of next term to see what comes next and to ensure all our children can ‘Dream-Achieve and be Inspired to succeed.’
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