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Children enjoy lessons at Croft School
THE Croft School has thrown open its doors to show the public what schools of the future will look like in Swindon.
The flagship school, next to Croft Sports Centre, off Marlborough Lane, was supposed to be fully completed in time for its opening in September, but delays meant only the parts of the building needed for the first intake of reception pupils were finished.
However, construction work finished in January and Dr Nick Capstick, the co-executive headteacher of the White Horse Federation, which runs Croft, says the 44 reception children, plus the six staff and two support staff, are settling in well to what he described as “a building for kids of the future.”
Croft is the first school to be built under Swindon Council’s own modular Class Solutions design which, the council says, will be the model for all new schools in the town.
It is trying to sell to the design other authorities on the basis it is one-third cheaper to build than a traditional school, quicker to construct and cheaper to run and maintain.
Dr Capstick, along with fellow co-executive headteacher Lauren Connor, had input in the design, and said it is the first school of its kind where educators have worked very closely with the architects to ensure it reflects the learning styles throughout a child’s primary education.
For example, the two existing classes of reception pupils share a large collaborative area, where they can interact and teachers can share resources, rather than being segregated in traditional classrooms.
Children will go back to a traditional classroom setting in years three and four to promote learning behaviour and discipline, but in years five and six they will learn in a large open space for 120 children, which is zoned for different subjects, to encourage independent learning.
Dr Capstick said: “It’s having a vision for how 21st century learners learn. “This is a building for kids of the future. We have built something that’s important for the next 20 to 30 years.
“The children have settled in particularly well. Our parents here are massively supportive and they are very willing to articulate how they feel so we can start shaping right from the very beginning to meet their needs and ours.”
Dr Capstick admitted this year’s pupil intake fell short of the maximum of 60, but claimed this was higher than other new schools, which had not been surrounded by controversy but had started with 15 or 16 pupils.
He said access was not the problem originally feared by some residents, as very few parents drove to school so there was not that much additional traffic.
Joanna Buller, 33, of Marlborough Road, whose daughter Emily, five, is a pupil, said: “She loves it. She has made friends and they’ve settled really well.”