A NEW £200,000 classroom building has been unveiled at Kidmore End Primary School.
It replaces a “temporary” classroom that was installed in 1969 and was in such a poor condition that it made pupils ill.
The new Higgens Building was officially opened by the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, by cutting a ribbon.
It is named after Thomas Higgens, who was the school’s longest-serving headteacher from 1897 to 1930.
The ceremony was preceded by a service at John the Baptist Church in the village attended by about 250 pupils, staff and parents.
Guests included Daniel Sadler, headteacher of Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, former parish priest Rev Canon Graham Foulis Brown, Kidmore End parish councillors Sue Biggs and Caroline Aldridge and Nicky Liddon-Horncastle, manager of the village pre-school. The service started in the church before moving to the outside of the new building and included prayers, readings and songs.
Children from years five and six, who began using the new building on December 1, sang The Building Song and Zack Hawkes, 10, read a prayer.
As he cut the ribbon, Bishop Colin asked the children to cheer and shout “hip, hip, hooray”.
He said: “It’s lovely to be here on such a special day. Children bring life to the new classrooms.
“It’s a place where people are together. Children are so important to a school. This service has been about saying thank-you to each and every one of the people involved in the wonderful new classroom.”
After the ceremony the guests enjoyed tea and coffee plus pieces of a cake depicting the new classroom made by admin assistant Heather Farmer.
The new building was constructed by Clearspace Buildings in about four months. The school contributed £40,000 with the rest coming from the Diocese of Oxford.
Headteacher Linda Hull said: “It’s a massive improvement to the learning environment. The previous classroom was cold in the winter and too hot in the summer and didn’t have disabled access either.”
Joanna Moriarty, who chairs the school’s governors, said: “It’s a much better facility and we needed something better. It keeps the school growing and it means we’ve got space elsewhere in the school that we can use for something else.”
In April last year, pupils complained that they were being made ill by the conditions of the old classroom.
More than 20 year five pupils wrote to Henley MP John Howell after he visited the school, complaining that the Sixties wooden building was too small and cold and damp.
Ben Beville wrote: “Our classroom is not really suitable for adults and children. Some of the problems are we do not have heating so we have to plug heaters in, costing more money.”
Jessica Dippenaar wrote: “We are unhappy with the heating because children are getting ill. One of them got pneumonia because of the cold. I know it doesn’t sound serious but it is!”
Izzy Everett wrote: “The classroom is too cold and we have electric heaters to try to warm up. Condensation is causing computer hazards, which puts us in danger. Pupils and staff keep getting seriously ill, which means we have less teachers.”
After reciting his prayer, Zack said: “The new classroom is a lot bigger. There is more space to move around and work co-operatively.
“There are no problems with condensation on the windows. That was a problem with the last one.”