Together with the Ley and Green families, whose children Francesca and Matilda will attend the two form entry school when it opens in September 2020, guests were invited to view the site before groundworks began and to understand the delivery of the project over the forthcoming months.

The school, once complete, will provide 420 new school places in West Barnstaple for pupils aged between three and 11 years old as well as a 39 place nursery. With current demand exceeding supply in the area, the new Free School has been welcomed by the local community.

With a new development continuing to grow beside the site, local schools are either over capacity or almost full, with many families having to travel a significant distance for a school place. The new Roundswell Community Primary Academy will help provide more school places in the Barnstaple area, a move championed by Devon County Council.

This new school will be a valuable addition to the junior school provision in the Barnstaple area. When completed it will of course be able to serve the expanding housing developments that are taking place.

Councillor John Mathews, Chair, Devon County Council

Made up of 44 modules and split over two storeys, the permanent school building will include specialist arts and science areas, a multi-activity studio and a library for the pupils to enjoy, with a double height modular hall and hard and soft playing areas.

Play is a powerful motivator, encouraging children to be creative and to develop their ideas, understanding and language and the new facility will also include a forest school.

Tarka Learning Partnership CEO Andy Cotton comments: “The Trust is delighted and excited to be partnering the Department for Education and Portakabin to offer this new school to the Roundswell community. Education is the cornerstone of society opening opportunities to young people as they look to their futures. We will strive to provide outstanding care and education to the young people of the area, as well as developing a much needed community space to bring all ages together.”

The first phase of the project will see groundworks continuing until February while at the same time, modules are made at the Portakabin manufacturing facility in York. Thanks to the offsite nature of the project, modules will arrive on site for assembly pre-plumbed, wired for electricity and climate control and with windows and doors already fitted.

Nick Griffin, General Manager for Portakabin comments: “We have a vision for the new Roundswell Community Primary Academy and we’re delighted to celebrate it today. It will be a modern learning environment, designed with the key pedagogical principles in mind and include specialist facilities as well bright, airy and open classrooms. Although we are breaking ground today, the modules which will make up the school have already been manufactured in our custom facility in York!”

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