Aylesbury's newest primary school has taken a significant step forward as it prepares to open its doors to pupils for the very first time in September.
Jonathan Walker has been appointed headteacher of Berryfields Church of England primary school, which has been built to serve the new Berryfields community on the north western fringes of the Buckinghamshire town.
Berryfields is a 3,000-plus home neighbourhood currently being constructed by house builders Taylor Wimpey, Martin Grant Homes, Kier Homes, Linden Homes and Abbey New Homes.
The £7m primary school, which also includes a nursery, forms part of the brand new Aylesbury Vale Academy campus. It will mean children from Berryfields will be able to benefit from care and education from the age of three through to 18.
Walker has an excellent track record as a headteacher, having achieved 'Good' Ofsted reports with two Oxfordshire primary schools, which had both been underperforming prior to his taking the helm.
"I'm incredibly excited and honoured to be involved with the creation of a brand new school," said Walker. "I'm particularly enthusiastic about having a role in helping to build a new sense of community here at Berryfields, and am sure parents and children will share my excitement when they find out more about the school.
"At Berryfields we will expect the very best from each other - the best teaching, the best resources, the best behaviour and the best results.
"We will challenge every child to achieve more than they thought possible in an environment where they can feel safe and secure."
Walker's appointment marks something of a homecoming, as he explained: "I live in Aylesbury and I taught in Buckinghamshire prior to my headships, and so to come back here is particularly special for me.
"The town has a really bright future. It's growing, but not to the detriment of its character, and Berryfields is shaping up to be a great new place to live for people from Aylesbury and also for those from outside the area."
The school will open to children from nursery years to Year Two from September, and will eventually have capacity for 104 nursery places and 420 pupils from reception through to Year Six.
In addition to the classrooms, IT facilities and outdoor space, Berryfields primary school will house a community centre and a children's centre, while a church congregation will also meet there.
"The building is truly one for the whole community to use, which is particularly important in a neighbourhood that is so new," said Walker. "Pupils will also benefit from being part of the wider academy. Both schools will retain their own identity, but will benefit from being in a close partnership.
"Being on the same site will help us to ensure that children continue to make good progress when they switch schools. By sharing resources and designing a curriculum that continues from one phase to another, we can avoid the problem of progress plateauing as pupils adjust to the change of school."
"We've almost finished recruiting staff for the school now, and we can't wait to open and be a part of this new community."
In addition to the new homes and schools, Berryfields will include a supermarket and up to 10 other smaller shops, while acres of parks and green open spaces, including riverside park areas, will also feature 13 equipped play areas for families to enjoy. A community centre provides a focal point for the residents of the new homes.
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