Marking a monumental milestone in the development of the new Devon community, Sherford's first primary school - Sherford Vale - is now officially open and welcoming pupils.
To celebrate the landmark occasion, local dignitaries and members of the Sherford Consortium joined pupils and their families as they walked through the streets of Sherford to the new school for the first time.
Located at the heart of Sherford and taking just a year to complete, with construction and infrastructure firm Morgan Sindall leading its construction, the children aged between 2‐11 years old are the first of 420 pupils set to attend the new school. Entering the main school building for the first time with teaching staff earlier this week, pupils were greeted by high‐quality facilities, state‐of‐the‐ art equipment, and indoor and outdoor learning and play spaces.
Sherford Vale is set to offer a rich and balanced curriculum, with an emphasis on providing outstanding teaching across science, technology, arts, maths and PE, in addition to a wide variety of extracurricular activities. Teaching will also focus on sustainability, taking advantage of Sherford's extensive Country Park, woodland and wildlife habits.
The new school represents a £6m investment into community infrastructure and has been funded by the Sherford Consortium - the partnership of award‐winning homebuilders, Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Taylor Wimpey - with £1m also pledged towards its creation by Devon County Council. The school is sponsored and run by the Westcountry Schools Trust (WeST), which has a proven track record in education excellence locally, also running neighbouring Ivybridge Community College.
HMS Drake Personnel Support Group (PSU), which consists of Royal Navy Personnel who are currently in between drafts or have recently finished training, also helped to prepare the school on the days leading up to the opening. This included washing the surrounding area, as well as putting together some of the school's furniture.
Rob Haring, CEO of WeST said: "It is fantastic to greet the very first Sherford Vale pupils and their families, as well as celebrating the landmark moment with those who have helped make the new school a reality. It has been an exciting journey to see the plans for Sherford Vale come to fruition, and we aim to provide outstanding education to both Sherford residents and the local area.
"Our vision is focused on academic excellence and success for all children, who will be encouraged to think creatively, while being given opportunities to take part in a wide range of activities and sports ‐ as well as making excellent use of the natural resources and facilities available at Sherford."
Bradley Davison, Sherford Consortium said: "We would like to welcome the Class of 2018; the first pupils, their families, and teaching staff to Sherford's first school. This is one of the biggest milestones in the town's development and an incredible amount of work and investment have gone into bringing the school to life. Its completion is a testament to how far the new community has come in just a few years - and this progress will continue, with three more schools set to open in the coming years."
Nigel Whelan, Area Director at Morgan Sindall, said: "It's been a pleasure to work alongside our partners and staff at the school during the construction of Sherford Vale. The new school is an outstanding facility that will create an inspiring and motivational space for pupils to come to learn every day.
"It's been a fantastic journey so far and the new timelapse footage demonstrates the scale of work that has gone into creating a school of this high‐standard and quality. We hope that everyone at Sherford Vale is delighted with their new home, which we're sure will become a much‐loved part of the community it will serve for many years to come."
Devon County Council leader, John Hart, said: "It's absolutely vital when we are trying to create new communities that people puttinng down roots there know that they will have the facilities they need to go with their new homes. I was pleased that Devon County Council was able to contribute £1 million towards ensuring the new school was up and running as people move into Sherford. Not only will it provide an excellent education for the children, but I hope it will become areal focal point for everyone living there."