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Clevedon Learning Trust

Clevedon Learning Trust

Chestnut Park Opening Ceremony

The first pupils at Chestnut Park Primary School in Yatton were presented with a special memento at the official opening of the new school on Friday 17 September.

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 North Somerset Council Chairman Cllr Richard Westwood to officially open North Somerset's newest 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.   

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

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."

"It has been a privilege to play a part in opening Chestnut Park and to see a patch of land transform into a modern school with its first reception class," said John Wells, Chief Executive Officer of Clevedon Learning Trust. "I would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen, including Willmott Dixon, North Somerset Council and the Clevedon Learning Trust team.

"The opening is just the beginning. I have every confidence that Tamara and the rest of the Chestnut Park staff will build a school that’s an important part of Yatton’s North End community and that provides an excellent educational experience for its children. I wish the school’s first cohort of children every success."

Richard Jones, Director of Willmott Dixon, said: "It’s been an absolute delight to build this outstanding primary school for North Somerset Council and the local community of Chestnut Park and it’s already very clear that the school has a prominent part to play in this region’s continued success.

"The school has been completed in unprecedented times during the Covid-19 pandemic and it would be remiss of me not to show our incredible appreciation of our supply chain partners, the Clevedon Learning Trust and the talented designers commissioned to bring these expectations to life. Everyone has gone above and beyond to allow the project to be completed in time to receive its first pupils.

"During the build period, we have been able to offer employment to in excess of 21 people who had been previously unemployed for a long period of time and also hosted six apprentices to continue their craft skill learning."

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 North Somerset Council's Senior Archaeologist Cat Lodge, revealed some late prehistoric/Iron Age pits on the school site, one of which contained the claw of a sea eagle.

"I hope that being on such a significant site will enrich the pupils' love of history and their exploration of what has come before us," added Cllr Gibbons.

The school will be opening a pre-school class for three to four-year-olds in January. Anyone interested in a pre-school place for their child should contact the school on office@chestnutparkschool.org.uk.