The first new secondary school to be built in the Wokingham Borough for more than 50 years opened its doors for the first time today (7 September).
More than 100 students have joined Bohunt School Wokingham, off Sheerlands Road in Arborfield. Initially they will use the existing legacy buildings, next to the new £32.5million school building being constructed, thanks to Wokingham Borough Council, on the former Arborfield Garrison site.
The frame for the new building is complete and work is now focussing on the internal features including the learning spaces and IT infrastructure designed to meet the needs of modern teaching. Staff and students will move into this new building in September next year (2017).
The state-of-the-art school, being run by Bohunt Educational Trust, will eventually cater for up to 1,200 pupils. Within the building there is a suite of customised STEM (science, technology, engineering and science) rooms, a drama theatre, and large light and open plan areas which will house the school’s impressive, ICT, art and learning resource centres. All this coupled with the sports facilities in the adjacent sports centre, 3G AstroTurf and tennis and netball courts make the new school a fantastic facility for the borough’s young people.
The new school is being built as part of the major development coming to Arborfield in the years ahead and will cater for pupils from the new homes as well as from existing communities in the south of the borough. The site is at the heart of the new garden village of the Arborfield Garrison development, which will also include community facilities, a sports hub around the new school and shops.
The new village will also have two new primary schools; one located on the northern part of the site and one on the southern.
Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for children’s services, said: “After all the hard work and dedication of so many people, I’m thrilled we’re able to open the first new secondary school in more than 50 years in Wokingham Borough. It’s great news for the children from the south of the borough.
“This is an excellent example of partnership working and an ambitious project and challenge, which we’ve all risen to.. We’ve been committed to providing this much needed school with facilities that are fit for the 21st Century and inspire its students to fulfil their potential. We’ve invested significantly, and in fact are one of very few councils actually building new schools. Once the new school building is open it will also benefit the wider community.
"The foundations of this school have been built on strong parent involvement. The parent reference group and the wider community have been involved every step of the way. Their involvement has helped us turn our ambitions into reality. I wish everyone at Bohunt School Wokingham the very best for the future."
Ben Godber, headteacher at Bohunt Wokingham School, said: "It’s been quite something, watching the legacy buildings transform into a brilliant temporary teaching facility, eclipsed only by the stunning new build next door. To be at the vanguard of such a fantastic new adventure is an awesome feeling and we’re thrilled to be able to bring the vision and values of the Bohunt Education Trust to this region.
"We have a superb team of staff assembled, chomping at the bit to bring the highest expectations, unparalleled opportunities and ethos of ‘Enjoy, Respect and Achieve’ to the new school. All the ingredients are here to enable our students to develop into genuine 'game changers'".
Hugo Reeve, development director at Crest Nicholson, said: “Crest Nicholson is delighted that a new secondary school has opened its doors today at our new Arborfield Green garden village. It really has been a collaborative effort over the last two years, working in close liaison with Wokingham Borough Council, their contractors Dawnus and the new school provider Bohunt.
“This will be a fantastic new facility for both new and existing residents and one that will only strengthen the sense of community we’re building here at Arborfield Green. We’re very proud to have been a part of this project and welcoming our first residents into their new homes later this autumn.”
For more information on the wider development visit the Arborfield Garrison page.