New school welcomes its first pupils

Chestnut Park Primary School officially opened on September 17.

Chestnut Park Primary School officially opened on September 17. - Credit: North Somerset Council

The first cohort of pupils have been welcomed to a new primary school.

Chestnut Park Primary School, which will serve Yatton’s North End community, opened on September 17.

The school, in Wheatear Road, initially has 210 places overall, with infrastructure already in place to increase its capacity to 420 places to meet future demand from local housing development. A pre-school class will open in January. 

The design and build of the £6million school was project-managed by North Somerset Council. The council awarded the build contract to Willmott Dixon and the Department for Education appointed the multi-academy trust, the Clevedon Learning Trust, to run the school.

Speaking at the official opening the council's executive member for children's services and lifelong learning, Cllr Catherine Gibbons, thanked all those who have helped to deliver the school during the pandemic and the many challenges this has brought.   

Cllr Gibbons said: "This project is a demonstration of fantastic collaboration between the council, Willmott Dixon and the Clevedon Learning Trust.

"I look forward to hearing about the growth of the school within this new and growing community and wish everyone success and happiness in their new school."

Chestnut Park Primary School officially opened on September 17. 

Chestnut Park Primary School officially opened on September 17. - Credit: North Somerset Council

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All 20 four and five-year-olds in the school's first reception class received a medal engraved with 'Chestnut Park, Yatton 2021' on a ribbon in the school colours.

The children also joined in the ribbon cutting ceremony with council chairman, Cllr Richard Westwood, to officially open the school.

Headteacher Tamara Dexter said: "It’s an absolute privilege to be the founding headteacher at Chestnut Park. We have an excellent team and have welcomed our first class of reception children into the building.

"We are all incredibly pleased with the outstanding facilities the school has to offer, and the building has now come alive to the sound of children laughing, playing and learning.

"We are proud to be part of the Clevedon Learning Trust and would like to thank everyone involved in the establishing of the school. We are now at the heart of the community and I look forward to watching the school grow and develop over the years ahead."

Among the guests at the opening was Clevedon artist Hayley Jones who created the stainless steel sculpture of a sea eagle which greets the children as they arrive at the school.

The sculpture celebrates the archaeological significance of the site where the school has been built. A series of archaeological excavations were carried out at North End, Yatton between 2015 and 2018 prior to the construction of the Bloor Homes housing development, a care home and the new school.

These excavations, overseen by the council's senior archaeologist Cat Lodge, revealed some late prehistoric and Iron Age pits on the school site, one of which contained the claw of a sea eagle.