School site underway

Abbey Sheridan laying a brick at the new Oyster Park school
Abbey Sheridan laying a brick at the new Oyster Park school

CONSCIENTIOUS student Abbey Sheridan broke ground at the site of a new Castleford school by laying the first brick.

The Oyster Park Primary school pupil was given the honour to mark a new era for the school, which is set to have state-of-the-art classrooms, dining facilities and assembly halls as part of a multi-million pound Wakefield Council project.

Ten-year-old Abbey – who won the honour by achieving 100 per cent attendance over three weeks – was cheered on by classmates as she helped lay the foundations for the new Watling Road site.

Mandy Reather, headteacher at the school, said: “Abbey was a fantastic ambassador for the school. She was delightful, excited and enthusiastic.

“She was cheered on by her classmates who came out to see her. She’s even written her own report about the event which has gone out to parents.”

Wakefield Council chiefs announced in March that two schools – Oyster Park and De Lacy Primary school in Chequerfield, Pontefract – would be rebuilt as part of a £7m project.

Both schools were created in August 2010 after council chiefs merged existing establishments to combat an empty classroom crisis which, at the time, was costing the authority £5m a year in 5,000 excess places across the district.

The new schools will feature high-specification internal finishes and a mix of modern external materials, including render, timber and aluminium glazing with photovoltaic panels in the roof.

The project will also see their existing grass sports pitches upgraded along with new playgrounds and car parking facilities being provided.

Mrs Reather said: “We’re very optimistic that this new building will support the development of the school. Being in one building will gel us together.

“It’s a great feature for the community too because it can be used after school for activities.”

Wakefield Council confirmed the project is due to finish in April 2013.