The Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Gavin Collins, visited St Nicholas Church of England Primary School, Challow, on Thursday 8 September to bless their new school building.
The event began with a short Open the Book service led by the Revd Alec Gill, Associate Vicar of Wantage, including a presentation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan from some of the school children. A blessing by the Bishop of Dorchester followed outside the new school building.
The new building, affectionately named The Burrow, is on the site of an old nursery, which closed a few years ago. It is now the home of the early years, nursery and reception classes at the school, enabling this age group to be taught in the same location as the rest of the school pupils.
St Nicholas, part of the Vale Academy Trust, is a growing village school with a capacity of 140 children. The new classrooms free up space in the main school building to increase their capacity by 30 children and better serve the expanding local community.
The new single-storey building incorporates two large classrooms, a kitchen and toilets. The cost of the build was covered by Oxfordshire County Council Section 106 funding. The funding enables the council to provide the extra pupil places needed locally and forms part of an additional £50 million capital programme of school investment over ten years.
Blessing the new building, Bishop Gavin said:
“The Burrow is a wonderful new building where children will have the space to grow, learn and have fun together.
"We give thanks to God remembering all the hard work that went into its planning and construction and pray that it may be a blessing to the life of the school.”
Heather Richards, Head Teacher at St Nicholas Church of England Primary School, shared:
“We are very proud of our new building and the amazing facilities it now provides for our youngest children in nursery and reception. Nestled within our grounds, this has been a project which everyone in the school community has played a part in."
"The blessing by Bishop Gavin marks a new beginning for St Nicholas CE Primary, as we open our doors to a purpose-built space providing the very best foundations for life and learning.”
Notes for editors
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About the Diocese of Oxford
The Diocese of Oxford is the Church of England in the Thames Valley region of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. There are 808 churches in 626 parishes, the largest number of churches of any diocese in the Church of England. The diocese is also home to 285 schools and academies educating some 60,000 pupils.
About The Vale Academy Trust
In 2013 the Vale Academy Trust led the way in modelling collaboration, being the first in the UK to see church schools and community schools coming together, whilst retaining their own distinctive character.
The Academy Trust comprises eight church and community schools based in the south Oxfordshire towns of Wantage and Abingdon; two secondary schools and six primary schools, none of which are more than ten miles apart. The Trust is currently working with other partners to open a new Church of England all-through Academy on the Wellington Gate development, which will accept nursery- and reception-aged children from September 2023.