New School Building For Firside

Firside Junior School is set to get a new building.

The Wensum Trust has revealed the plans for the replacement of Firside Junior School with an entirely new building, securing the future of the school and the high educational standards for all its pupils for decades to come.

The school was part of the second set of 50 schools selected by the Department for Education to be part of the School Rebuilding Programme, which was announced in July 2021. 

Under the government scheme, all costs are being covered for the new building which will create a modern education environment, providing new facilities.

The school will also be net-zero carbon in operation, helping to meet the government’s net zero target.

“This is wonderful news for the Firside community and those who are working and learning in the school every day.

“ The Wensum Trust has invested more than £300k since Firside joined the trust to keep the building safe. This has included roof and window repairs and installing a new boiler. However, it is the fabric of the building that is not fit for purpose and the Department for Education has concluded the long term structure of the building cannot be sustained.

“The new building will have a significant positive impact on the children’s experience at school and on the staff, as well as benefiting the whole community.”

Daniel Thrower, CEO of the Wensum Trust

Some of the benefits include:

  • The new school will be carbon-neutral, benefiting not just the school community but also the whole environment.
  • Being a carbon-neutral school means  money normally spent on energy costs will be put back into the education of the children.
  • The new, two storey, building will allow for year groups to be allocated closer together, giving more effective teaching spaces for staff and children. 
  • The new school will improve the flow around the building between lessons, at break time and after school.
  • The footprint of the school will be smaller, resulting in more outside field space.
  • The classrooms will be built to accommodate all class sizes.

Headteacher of Firside Junior School, Roz Robinson, said: “We are grateful to the Department for Education who are leading on this project. This is an exciting time for all the staff and children in our school community. The new building will give our staff the modern and appropriate space they need to teach and where the children can thrive.

“The local community will also see a positive impact from the new school. Whilst we do encourage families to walk or cycle to school, a new vehicle entrance which will allow for parents who need to drive in to drop-off on school grounds, easing traffic congestion in the area. There will also be staff and visitor parking on site, easing parking on local roads.

“There will be increased opportunities for the local community to use the multi-use games area and sports hall and new football pitches will also be marked out with the floodlights owned by Firside Athletic being moved to a brand-new pitch.”

John Smith, Chair of Trustees, said: “The Board of Trustees is delighted to have secured this support from the Department of Education. It forms an important part of the overall strategy of the Trust to improve the learning environment for our students and is in addition to other significant investments the Trust itself is making in our academies across Norfolk.”

The rebuild programme will have minimal disruption to the children’s education at Firside as they will remain in the existing school until building work is complete.

The building work is expected to begin in August 2023 with the new school being ready to open in September 2024.
The Department for Education will continue to support the Trust and Firside Junior School a year after the building work is complete.