Schools may not even have broken up for the summer holidays yet, but at one Croydon school, the countdown to the autumn term is already well under way.
Chestnut Park Primary School will be opening its doors for the first time in September 2015, and those children lucky enough to have secured their places at the new establishment have already enjoyed story sessions with their new teachers and classmates, which have also served to allow the new parents to get an idea what the school will be like.
Headteacher Esther Brooks said the prospect of a new school opening was hugely exciting for everyone involved. “Schools play such a big role in creating new and adding to existing communities that for all the children coming to Chestnut Park and their families, it’s an opportunity to make a real difference to the area in which they live,” she explained. “And speaking on behalf of the teaching staff, schools are such organic places, building an identity over so many years, that for us to have the chance to help shape that school character from the word go is a rare and thrilling opportunity.”
The school has been set up in response to the needs of the local community, in an area where there have not been enough primary places to go round. It is being administered by the GLF Schools group, a rapidly expanding chain of 12 schools across Surrey and Berkshire, which takes in all kinds of institutions from new build primaries to long-established secondaries.
Chestnut Park will operate a three-form entry system, initially on a temporary site within Whitehorse Manor School, on Brigstock Site, with transport being provided as needed from St James Road, before moving to brand new facilities on St James’s Road. There are still spaces
available for anyone interested in applying. Mrs Brooks said the school was keen to hear from anyone who had not yet secured a school place and wanted to be part of Chestnut Park’s first intake, next September.
“People may like to joke about teachers enjoying long holidays,” she added, “but I think everyone at Chestnut Park is hoping that the weeks will fly past so we can get back to school and launch this great new project for the school family and the wider Croydon community."
It is a community Mrs Brooks already knows well, having previously been Special Education Needs Co ordinator at Purley Oaks School. She comes to Chestnut Park from Hillcroft Primary in Caterham, where she has been Head of School and previously Deputy Headteacher.
Mrs Brooks said the school’s brand new status made it a unique opportunity for people to get involved on the launch of something distinctive and different. “At the moment, Chestnut Park is the outline of a picture, and we need local families to get involved and help colour it,” she explained.
“The school will have to grow into its buildings, so that means that there is room for the school premises to become a wider, community learning facility. We want people to come and join us helping build up the Chestnut Park school community – and by doing so, help develop the local community as a whole.”
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