A Timeline of School Development
We are in the process of updating our trim trail, an area that children have only been able to access safely during dry weather. Whilst we intend to keep some components of the trail, others have been removed to make way for the relocation of our school cabin. Once complete, this will become a quiet space for children to enjoy making crafts and playing games during playtimes and lunchtimes.
Now that our library has been relocated, we are redeveloping the space to provide a quiet learning environment away from the main classroom. We have just invested in a 360 degree camera called 'Owl Cam' which provides children in the space with a live stream from their classroom.
From a steep, muddy hill with deteriorating and dated apparatus (see below), to a new and level AstroTurf surface that can be accessed and enjoyed all year round. Children now have more space - almost an extra third on what was available before - to be physically active and access a wider range of activities to make playtimes even more fun!
A project to celebrate our school values and make our visitors feel welcome started in September 2021. This included the installation of new signage and a permanent ramp to ensure that everyone who visits feels included and welcome.
Access to the front of our school has been a longstanding concern, where children and parents have had to walk in the road. Thanks to the efforts of Diane Scott, one of our wonderful school governors, we now have a permanent footpath which provides a safe route away from the dangers of the road.
What was once an overgrown verge...
...is now a new footpath!
We continue to invest in our EYFS learning environment to ensure that our youngest learners have the best possible start to their education. This project involved landscaping a neglected muddy bank (see below) into a new construction area with winding paths and a stone pit that can be used all year round to promote play and develop gross motor skills.
We LOVE reading at East Farleigh and have always had lots of books to choose from. However, our old library made it difficult for children to choose a book because they were either hard to reach or muddled up; the room was also quite small so only a few people could fit inside at any one time.
The old IT space has been transformed into a new library that provides a well-organised and calm space for children to read and choose new books. We have invested in lots of new books - thanks to funds raised by our Friends committee - that are now carefully organised: non-fiction books are grouped by topic and fiction titles are categorised by Accelerated Reader level. There are also lots of baskets of picture books for our younger readers to take home and read for pleasure alongside their weekly decodable phonics book.
After investing in new Chromebook laptops and trolleys, we no longer had a need for an IT suite with its old desktop computers.
The entrance foyer was not very welcoming with plain walls and no one on view to greet visitors to; this jarred with the warm and friendly atmosphere in the rest of the school. With some help from Arty Party - sculptural artists from London - we have transformed the space with a whole-school installation project, where children sculpted a phoenix inspired by our school emblem.
The learning spaces around the school were dated, tired and disorganised. We took inspiration from our outside environment and renovated every classroom, investing in decoration, furniture and flooring. The spaces now provide children with a bright, airy and well-organised space to learn and thrive.
The boundary fencing was an area that needed some attention - the fences were very low or lacking structure in places and this made parts of the site feel unsafe. A project to build new perimeter fencing and fobbed gate entry completed in May 2020. The children report that this helps them to feel safe at school.
The development of our EYFS classroom was the first to undergo its transformation as part of school redevelopment plans, a project that took just over 6 months to complete . Works started in October 2019 with an army of volunteers - parents, staff and governors - who sanded, painted and cleaned in preparation for new floors and furniture to arrive. The new learning space has transformed our provision and has had an enormous impact in the engagement and enjoyment of our youngest learners.
The plans for redesigning and developing the EYFS learning environments (inside and outside) began in November 2018. Following the approval of structural plans to build a retaining wall and lay an AstroTurf surface, volunteers helped to clear and prepare the space for works to start. The building works completed in December 2019. The next nine months were spent sourcing high-quality outdoor resources, from wooden building blocks to themed activity sheds - this is something we are constantly adding to and improving.