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Battle against clock to open school

PUBLISHED: 22:36 04 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:34 03 March 2010

HUNDREDS of pupils at Ipswich's newest primary school, could find the doors closed tomorrow as builders are running behind schedule.

It will be up to Health and Safety inspectors entering at the last minute, to say if the showpiece school at Pipers Vale is ready to open to children tomorrow .

By TRACEY SPARLING

tracey.sparling@eveningstar.co.uk

HUNDREDS of pupils at Ipswich's newest primary school, could find the doors closed tomorrow as builders are running behind schedule.

It will be up to Health and Safety inspectors entering at the last minute, to say if the showpiece school at Piper's Vale is ready to open to children.

The new school replaces Raeburn Infants and Orwell Junior schools, which have now been flattened in the run up to the eagerly-awaited opening.

As a bulldozer rumbled past her window, in a last-minute rush to get the building ready, Piper's Vale headteacher, Sue Lines, was keeping her fingers crossed.

She said work was behind schedule, but added: "We are planning on opening, and expect to open on time, and I have got the architects coming in to check. I have to be absolutely certain the school is safe."

As most of the school's 280 pupils face an uncertain future today, the new reception class has an extra day's grace because it is due to start on Friday, and the nursery school will start after the weekend.

Piper's Vale Community Primary will be stunning new premises with views overlooking the Orwell Bridge.

The name was chosen after consultation with children and parents from both schools. Mrs Lines, who was previously headteacher at Raeburn, said having the word community in the title was important because there will be a commitment to the community, and the school has rooms that can be used by other groups such as parents and toddlers.

The school cost £2.48 million, with £1.82m coming straight from the government as part of its New Deal for Schools programme. It will have the capacity to provide 420 places, for children aged between four and 11, and another 52 in the pre-school nursery.

The same team that designed and built the £2.58m Ravenswood School, is to be retained to work on the Raeburn project which should reduce the overall cost. When Ravenswood was opened this time last year, to replace Priory Heath Primary School, it was the first completely new school in Ipswich since Stoke High opened to replace the old Tower Ramparts School in 1977.

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