CENTRAL Devon MP Mel Stride returned to Newton St Cyres, eight months after he visited the site of the village’s new primary school which was then little more than mud and a bit of scaffolding.

This time the vision was somewhat different – a brand new facility just weeks after it officially opened on June 22.

Mr Stride was shown around by Executive Headteacher of the Exe Valley Federation, John Jolliffe and Head of School, James Akhurst.

Mr Ankhurst, recently told the “Courier”: “We now have a new building fit for a modern day education.”

He added that he was pleased to say that the pre-school building has been successfully moved from the old site to the new.

He explained: “Work is now underway building a new roof and finalising the rest of the building ready for the new academic year.”

Children at the school recently described it as “amazing”.

Shortly after the children moved into the school, Mr Akhurst, who masterminded the move and made sure that everything that was needed was safely taken to the new site, said: “I am delighted with our new building and all the facilities that we can now use. We have been waiting for a long time for this day and everyone is very excited.” 

The new building has been financed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency following an application by the school to replace the old school, which was built in 1877. 

It had served the local community for many years but was no longer fit for purpose with crumbling walls and a variety of temporary classrooms that had long since deteriorated to an unfit condition. 

Located on the busy A377, the school was noisy and difficult to access safely and parents could not park safely near the school without risking the lives of their children in crossing the main road between Exeter and Crediton.

All that is now a distant memory, with the new building opening with a car park that is large enough to allow everyone to park safely.  

The new building has four state-of-the-art classrooms, a large hall and studio, which the Newton Nippers Pre-school is using until its building is ready.

There are also two library areas and a kitchen and offices inside and a large multi-use games area outside as well as a playground and field. 

One of the biggest bonuses for staff has been having everyone under one roof, making it much easier to keep an eye on the children as they move around the school and much less chance of getting soaked coming to assembly in the mornings.

The new building has been constructed by Elliott’s, who started work on the site in August last year, on land given to Devon County Council by John Quicke. 

Some of the building was constructed off-site and craned onto the site in late November.

Speaking after his visit Mr Stride said: “The location of the new school is a massive improvement on where the old site was situated - just yards away from the busy A377.

"The new site looks fantastic and there’s no doubting that good facilities help with pupil engagement.”