CONSTRUCTION work has just finished on a £7m building which will finally unite the infant and junior departments of a village school under one roof.

Pupils at St Mary’s Primary School in Purton were long based at two sites in College Road: the infants in a building dating from 1884 and the juniors in a now-demolished building from about 1955.

But when they return after Christmas, on January 6, all 320 children will be in a spacious, custom-designed building, which was finished as scheduled by last Wednesday.

Ian Tucker, headteacher for six years, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. There is never going to be another primary school like this again. It’s amazing. It’s been put forward for an architectural award because of the quality and the style of the building.

“It’s going to pull the school together for the first time since it became a split-site school in the 1950s or 1960s, so it brings everyone together for the first time in generations.

“The facilities are all state-of-the-art, lots of break-out spaces for the children, amazing outside play spaces and learning spaces. It’s quite incredible.”

The school is one of the last funded through the Primary Capital Programme, an arm of the Building Schools for the Future programme which was axed by the coalition Govern-ment. It is built on the site of the upper school, which was demolished along with the school swimming pool.

The two-storey building has 14 classrooms, each with new furniture, electronic white boards and other IT equipment funded by the school itself.

Each floor has an ICT and library suite, and there is also a large main hall with a sprung wooden floor, which can be divided into two spaces.

Outside, there is a block-paved platform over the roof of half the ground floor, on which children can learn and play.

The design includes a foundation-stage play area, a football pitch specially drained to match FA specifications for schools, and a wildlife habitat area. It also features an amphitheatre seating up to 90 people, for sports events and theatre productions.

The building has lots of eco-features, including the collection of rainwater to flush toilets, photovoltaic panels on the roof and ground source heat pumps.

About 80 per cent of the old junior building has been incorporated into the new development, mainly in the ground- works and foundations.

The Victorian building will be handed back tomorrow to the Diocese of Bristol, which will work with the parish council to determine its future.