After a three and a half year fundraising campaign and years of planning, contractors have started building work on the new Mary Hare Primary School which will be based on the same site as the Secondary School in Newbury, Berkshire.
On 21st June, a groundbreaking event was held, attended by our youngest pupils from the Primary School, Andrew Strivens, Chair of Governors, Kirsten Loyd, Chair of Trustees and some other members of staff.
The new school will include its own entrance and parking, fully accessible, purpose-built state of the art classrooms as well as an Art/DT room, a music room, a gymnasium, a dedicated audiology room and light, modern boarding facilities. All classrooms are acoustically treated to optimise listening conditions. In addition, the pupils will benefit from lots of open space, a secure internal courtyard, a bike trail and private woods within which they can enjoy activities such as campfires, nature walks and educational activities.
Jamie Harwood, director at Swindon-based Beard, the contractor for the project said: “As a constructor with specialist expertise in the education sector, we are very aware of the importance of creating spaces which are inspiring places to learn for the pupils, and as places of work for the teachers and staff. We’re very much looking forward to bringing the fantastic vision for Mary Hare Primary School to life, in order to provide a vital national resource and centre for teaching deaf children.”
As a specialist primary school for deaf children, taking pupils from all over the UK, Mary Hare Primary will continue to offer a small, nurturing environment for its pupils to learn and thrive whilst giving them a new school designed to challenge their learning, build their confidence and develop their communication skills through speaking and listening.
Robert Rattray, Head Teacher of Mary Hare Primary School said: ‘We are delighted that the work has now begun. This is so much more than just a building project. The new school will ensure we can continue to secure the education of deaf primary pupils well into the future. I want to thank everyone who has supported our appeal to raise the funds for this project so far – and to encourage anyone who would still like to make a donation towards our new school to visit our website.”
The demand for a specialist learning environment for deaf pupils is increasing as families consider the issue of friendships, academic opportunities and general inclusion for their deaf child. Mary Hare Primary School has a list of over 30 families who would like their child to attend. One parent who recently attended an event to find out more about Mary Hare Primary said, ‘We have been very nervous about finding the right setting for our daughter. We came away feeling really positive and quite emotional.’
Peter Gale, Principal of Mary Hare said ‘We want to work closely with Local Authorities and for them to see our new school as part of their continuum of provision for deaf children in their Authority. This collaborative approach is in everybody’s interest and ultimately the child’s.’