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St Giles-on-the-Heath Community School

Very Special School gets Fast Track Building

“This is an outstanding and very special little school … it is accomplished in making the very best use of its limited site and accommodation to meet the pupils’ differing needs.” These glowing remarks are from the introductory lines of the 2008 Ofsted Inspection Report on St Giles-on-the-Heath Community School, near Launceston, Devon.

Pivotal to St Giles’ continuing development was the provision of a new building for the pre-school department of another Devon school by Wernick. This proved to be just what was needed for that community, so the designers were subsequently asked to provide three more modular building designs for Devon County Council based on this successful project. St Giles was chosen to receive one of those designs after the Ofsted report was published.

The exterior of the new modular building is finished in Siberian Larch; a sustainable wood that also compliments the school’s environment. It has a large entrance lobby, an en-suite kitchen to the spacious main room and disabled and children’s toilet facilities. Charlotte McCarroll, the unit’s manager and teacher, described the outdoor provision for the building as, “wonderful for exploration and gardening”. A covered decking area is described as “fantastic” by Charlotte and her staff of four support workers, who can now allow the children to play outside in inclement weather.

“This new building is light years away from our previous accommodation”, said Charlotte. With the addition of their new building St Giles School has probably experienced one of its biggest changes since it was founded in 1901.

After the ground works had been completed the four bays which comprise the modular building were delivered and craned-in in one day. Actual time on-site to finish the building was eight weeks. The craning-in of the four modules was started at 5.30 am on a weekday morning during term-time and was finished by 8.00am, so Holly Torvell, the school’s head teacher, was able to claim that the school’s day-to-day activities were not really affected by noise or any other environmental disruption from the building site. The property’s natural stone perimeter walls and Siberian Larch exterior complements the school’s rural environment.

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