Children at the new £8.5million shared campus of St Paul’s Primary School and Foxlea Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Paisley were in fine voice for its official opening.
Pupils from St Paul’s sang ‘A New Day’ accompanied by drums at the service to celebrate the new facility, which was officially opened by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, while the school choir and soloist Nsikak Matthew sang The Lord’s My Shepherd.
Primary Seven pupil Evan McDonald also wrote a special poem, while nursery children from Foxlea Early Learning Centre also performed.
The new facility, which opened to staff and children in August, was designed by Renfrewshire Council’s Property Services team following two years of engagement with the school communities.
Learning environments are fit for modern and flexible teaching, including formal spaces which link directly to covered outdoors areas which, in turn, link to the play areas.
A canopied area has been designed for use by smaller groups of pupils to carry out a range of activities, including science experiments.
Head teacher of St Paul’s, Louise Maher said: “We are delighted to be in our brand new facility which is light and airy.
“It has been immensely rewarding for our children and staff to be involved in elements of the design, including the colour schemes and also in some of the fabulous new play equipment.
“They are also benefiting from the access to the outdoor learning areas and from our new classrooms which are truly designed for the 21st century and support modern teaching aids.”
Diane Latter, the head of centre for Foxlea, said: “The centre gives the children many great opportunities to develop new skills and learn in a bright, spacious environment that has been designed for young children.
“They have direct access to a wonderful outdoor play area where they can explore, learn about sustainability, science, literacy, numeracy and improve their health and wellbeing.
“It is a pleasure to work in a modern, well equipped centre and there have been many positive comments from parents and staff, as well as the children themselves.”
The new school site also features an all-weather sports surface and has a forest area where children can create ‘mud kitchens’.
A bike and scooter rack encourages children to ride to school.
The single storey building has access to the all-weather pitch from the gym, while the playground has graphics and games painted into the ground surface.
A centrally located studio provides space for dance and movement lessons. Staff and children at St Paul’s had input into the new campus colour scheme, choosing the red and grey school colours for the social and reception areas. A palette of pale greens and greys were chosen for the learning spaces to provide a calm environment.
Pupils also had valuable input in furniture choices and outdoor facilities, including play equipment.
St Paul’s has space for 212 pupils, while the Anchor Base has space for a further 24 children and provides specialised support across three class bases.
The Early Learning and Childcare Centre has capacity for 96 pre-five children, while the adult learning and literacy centre can house up to 10 students.
Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron performed the official opening in front of parents, pupils and staff, local councillors, church representatives, and Bishop of Paisley, John Keenan.
Provost Cameron said: “I’m delighted to have shared the excitement of the opening ceremony with the children, pupils and staff and I’m sure it will be a place where children will thrive.”
Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “We are committed to providing the best possible learning environments for our children and young people and it’s especially pleasing to see this wonderful facility as we celebrate 100 years of Catholic education in Scotland this year.
“This is an outstanding modern facility, and I wish children and staff every success going forward in their new campus.”
P7 pupil Evan McDonald’s poem
Excited and nervous yet raring to go,
Magnificent new school, it’s got a real glow,
Overwhelmed and anxious moving school,
There’s a lump in my throat, but it looks really cool,
The school is bright with clean and bright walls,
Open plan is great and there are also new halls,
Great to be back, an easy first day,
A fabulous outdoors for us to play,
Beyond the whiteboard stand primary six,
Rare and unusual yet we are a great mix,
Kind, welcoming staff who support and are cool,
We are so lucky to have this outstanding new school