04 November 2016
Children at Bel Royal School, including those with a range of physical, medical and language needs, are now benefitting from improved facilities following a major remodelling project.
It now has an extension that houses new classrooms, a physiotherapy room and additional welfare facilities and it will be officially opened on 4 November by Lady Gene McColl. The remodelling also includes improved outdoor play space and better areas for staff and parents.
Sonia Burton, who has been head teacher for 20 years, is delighted with the new wing and said “The project has transformed the way our students move around the school and use the building. We have specially designed ramps for wheelchair users and a new corridor that joins the two ends of the original building so that circulation is much easier and we feel like one learning community. Modern classrooms have replaced portacabins that were in place for 15 years and we now have purpose-built facilities that are fitting for a 21st century school.”
The school was built just over 40 years ago and was opened on 20 November 1975 by Lady Fitzpatrick, the wife of the Lieutenant-Governor of the time. This opening ceremony will be one of the last official duties carried out by HE Lieutenant-Governor General Sir John McColl and his wife before they leave Jersey.
The original Bel Royal School building had relatively few specialist facilities, particularly for the physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists that support the school. There are now a dedicated rooms with easy access for students and therapists, and ample storage space.
The school has also taken on an extra class of students as it was part of the project approved in the Medium Term Financial Plan 2013-2015 to provide additional capacity in a number of States primary schools. The new wing will include a time capsule with press cuttings of events during Bel Royal’s history.
Education Minister Deputy Rod Bryans said “I would like to thank Jersey Property Holdings for delivering another excellent school project that will enhance the education of our young pupils. I know that they went to particular efforts during the build to keep disruption to a minimum and the school staff were grateful for their sympathetic approach. I am also delighted that Sir John and Lady McColl could join us because they have been great supporters of education in Jersey.
“I would also like to thank the owners of land next to the school who gave permission for builders to use a portion so that the children’s play areas were not affected. It’s a sign of how the local community values their school.”
Infrastructure Minister Deputy Eddie Noel "I am delighted that JPH and our contractors have been able to deliver this important project which improves the school lives of the pupils and their teachers in a tangible way."