Back to school – but with lots of changes
IT was all change as children returned to school for the start of the new academic year.
Some youngsters went back to newly-built or refurbished schools while others returned to schools which have converted into academies and been given new names.
Students at Yate International Academy arrived at a brand new £16 million building yesterday morning.
The school's principal Roger Gilbert described the building as "unbelievable" and "stunning".
He said pupils would have to take a "sharp intake of breath" on seeing their new school.
The building, which took 16 months to create, was constructed on the school's playing field and is attached to a science block built five years ago.
The existing school buildings are now being demolished to create an all-weather sports pitch, a plaza and main entrance to the school, along with a car park.
Mr Gilbert said: "It's fabulous. The building has been designed around one footprint and everything is encompassed within one building. We have an atrium, which we call the hub, at the heart of the building.
"We have new classrooms and specialist teaching areas which are a significant improvement on the learning environment we've had previously.
"It's quite an inspirational design and it's very sustainable – we've got ground source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels on the roof."
Hundreds of pupils in the Bristol area returned to schools which have reopened with new names and academy status.
Among them are primary schools run by the Cabot Learning Federation, which also leads six secondary schools in the Bristol area.
Pupils yesterday began their education at Minerva Primary Academy, which was formerly Hillfields Primary; Frome Vale Academy, which used to be Oldbury Court Primary; Summerhill Academy, which replaces the junior school of that name; and Begbrook Primary Academy.
More than 20 city primaries in the city are now independently-run academies and the number is set to rise above 30 – out of 105 – by the end of 2012.
Elsewhere, a new primary school in Cheltenham Road will welcome its first pupils next week.
The Dolphin Primary, a new co-educational academy run by Colston's Girls' School Trust, will help meet the shortage of places in the inner city.
Gay Elms in Withywood has closed, with the school now forming part of an all-age Merchants' Academy while Filton Avenue Infant School will this month start a satellite branch on the campus of the secondary Orchard School in Horfield.