Tiny school's extension joy

PUPILS at one of Suffolk's smallest primary schools are celebrating the completion of an extension which worked out as an £8,500 bonus for each pupil.Youngsters in Whatfield are celebrating the official opening of their school improvements which cost £200,000 - the equivalent of £8,695 for each of the 23 pupils.

PUPILS at one of Suffolk's smallest primary schools are celebrating the completion of an extension which worked out as an £8,500 bonus for each pupil.

Youngsters in Whatfield are celebrating the official opening of their school improvements which cost £200,000 - the equivalent of £8,695 for each of the 23 pupils.

Headteacher Joan Wardell said: “It is a complete transformation. It looks so amazing now and the children love it.

“When the school was being renovated it was turned upside down and inside out.

“The children had to be taught in the village hall but they all coped with it very well and it is certainly worth it now - there is such a lovely feeling still when you walk in.”

The building, which was originally built for the village's youngsters by a vicar nearly 150 years ago, has been completely revamped.

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There is a new office block at the back of the school which can also be used as group room and one classroom has been extended so the back end is now a staff room and disabled toilet.

At the other end of school the old office and staffroom has been knocked through and is now the library and the other two classrooms have also undergone major work.

And thanks to money from various grants and fundraising from the community the whole school is now wheelchair-friendly and the garden is ready to be enjoyed by everyone.

Mrs Wardell added: “It looks completely different and even the walls have been painted jade a yellow throughout the building.”

The plan to improve the children's learning environment started around four-and-a-half years ago when some villagers decided to raise cash to build an extension.

Mrs Wardell said: “It mushroomed from there and just kept getting more ambitious.

“Our last Ofsted report did say the one thing we should do to get better is to improve the buildings and that is what we have done.

“The building work was finished towards the end of last year but we still didn't celebrate it opening until now because it is like when you move house - it takes a while to get everything in the right place.”

Weblink: www.suffolk.gov.uk/educationandlearning

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