Headteacher speaks of joy as plans press ahead to rebuild Hetton Primary School
A headteacher has spoken of her joy at a £5million investment programme which could see students move into a brand-new school building.
Work is set to begin in 2021 to create stunning new buildings to house Hetton Primary School and Sunningdale School after £18million was approved for school rebuilding projects by Sunderland City Council.
Most pupils in England are operating by remote learning for all bar the children of essential workers under the latest covid restrictions, but plans are pressing ahead for the new school buildings all the same.
Nicola Hill, headteacher at Hetton Primary School, believes the new building, proposed to replace its tired premises on Moorsley Road, will have a transformational impact on the lives of young people from the area.
“It was actually really overwhelming, hearing that we would have that level of investment poured into our school,” said Mrs Hill.
“Our teachers do a really good job. The school has such strong links to the local community and to parents too. And our children are just amazing. They totally deserve this.”
Plans released by Sunderland City Council will see the current school building demolished and a two-storey facility – which is proposed to include nursery provision – open to replace it on a new site.
Mrs Hill, who has been at the helm of the school since 2017, believes that the new space will allow teachers to deliver an even higher standard of support to students.
She first heard of the plans last year, but with proposals now advancing and detailed drawings of the facility being finalised, the proud headteacher is looking forward to a brighter future for children in Hetton.
As well as providing impressive outdoor spaces, including a ‘forest school’ and junior size football pitch, the building will provide a full range of indoor spaces, including sensory rooms, cooking kitchens and enhanced facilities for children with special educational needs.
“We’re very much restricted in our current building,” said Mrs Hill.
“We are creative in using the space we have in our current building, but at times it stops us from being able to do everything we want to do. This new building, with all its rooms and custom-built spaces, will just be incredible.
“There’s space for everything in the new building plans. Space for everybody to flourish and be the best they can be. It’s hard to put into words the benefit this will bring for our children.”
The building - which will see the council spend £5million of its own resources to create – is large enough to cater for 210 students, aged from two to 12.
Mrs Hill said the news has already created a buzz among staff, students and parents, and that they’re all very excited to make the move to the new building in 2022, if plans progress.
“The children are just so grateful and excited. People can see that they’re being invested in; that this amazing new building will be for them,” she said.
“When you’re working with these children every day, you see their potential and you know what you want to do as a teacher to help raise their aspirations and help them achieve. It’s frustrating to be held back by the environment you teach in.
“It’s fantastic that, in this new building, we will be able to provide all kinds of new opportunities to our students and see what they’re good at – to unearth their skills. We hope to be able to offer a more rounded education and hopefully show them what they are capable of achieving.”
The headteacher is also excited to be able to provide an all-through education, with a nursery built in, which will allow children to start there from as young as two years old and progress all the way through their primary education.
“Parents with children of different ages will be making one drop off, and we’ll be able to get them settled into school life, and make the transition as smooth as possible for them,” she said.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled about the plans. As teachers, you see your school family more than you see your own. It’s a fantastic community, and already very tight-knit, but it feels like this will bring us closer.”