Special school to unveil brand new £6 million facilities in Thornbury
1:32pm Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
A SPECIAL school in Thornbury is preparing to unveil its brand new £6 million state-of-the-art facilities designed to cater to its pupils' often complex needs in a friendly, spacious and safe environment.
New Siblands will officially inaugurate its mutli-million pound secondary school on Friday, September 27, just two years after construction began.
The two-storey building is linked to the old facilities, which have been entirely renovated, and contains six large classrooms, with adjoining group rooms, all equipped with hoists and interactive white boards.
A sports hall as well as dedicated music and science quarters and drama and art studios have been created. Students also run and enjoy lunch everyday in their very own Rainbow Café.
Work on the spacious structure, bathed in sunlight thanks to large French windows and skylights fitted in nearly every room and corridor, was made possible by the government Building Schools for the Future grant.
With the funding, a new primary school was erected next to Gillingstool Primary. This was then followed by the creation of modern facilities at the secondary site on Knapp Road.
Although pupils moved into the building last September, it took nearly a year to fix minor issues and apply the final touches before the school was ready to be officially inaugurated.
Head teacher Andrew Buckton told the Gazette the much-anticipated opening would be a momentous achievement for staff, parents and the secondary school's 35 pupils.
"The original building was cramped and crowded," he said. "Now pupils have the space they need to grow. We are very proud to be able to provide this for the children. It's about respect for them and equipping them for life."
Having distinct primary and secondary schools, in two different locations, was the best way to teach students about life's many changes and transitions.
"They have a place to transition to and by moving on to a secondary school they feel like they are growing," added Mr Buckton. "This was the idea behind the two sites as was co-locating the primary school with Gillingstool, a mainstream school."
The design, in its most minute details, aims to constantly remind visitors of the school's ethos and goals.
Its emblem, a rainbow, features prominently on the building and anyone stepping through the main entrance is greeted with its powerful motto, daubed in the atrium: 'Achievement, belonging, celebration, valuing every child through fostering independence, inclusion, trust, respect and support'.
The school's life skills centre, a bungalow resembling any normal home and allowing pupils to familiarise themselves with simple day-to-day tasks such as cooking, making a bed, ironing and vacuuming, was also reburbished.
The new facilities will be unveiled by former students, who will then enjoy a party with staff and current students.