The official opening of Beaulieu Park Primary School took place last Friday (12 October), marking an important milestone in progress to build the county's first all-ages school.
Several dignitaries from across Chelmsford joined school staff and pupils to celebrate the opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony which took place on the new school site in Springfield.
Funded by Essex County Council (ECC), the 420-place primary school building was finished in time for an initial cohort of 60 pupils to start the new academic year.
The site is also home to a 56-place Early Years centre and the 900-place secondary school building will be ready in time for September 2019.
The new buildings were constructed by Kier and the new school will be run by the Chelmsford Learning Partnership Academy Trust.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council's Cabinet Member for Education, said: “This is an exciting time for school investment in Essex. The opening of Beaulieu Park Primary School is another example of our ongoing commitment to ensure demand for school places in the county continues to be met, particularly in Chelmsford where the population is growing rapidly.
“We're not just investing in school buildings, but in children's futures and ensuring they have the right environment to thrive in and go on to enjoy a life-long love of learning.
“I'm so pleased to have been able to help officially open the first stage of the county's all-ages school today and look forward to completion of the secondary school in time for the next academic year."
The county council is investing £315million in creating new school places, with £75 million of this being spent on completing new schools and expansion projects in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year.
Ongoing investment in both mainstream and special school places reiterates the ECC's commitment to ensuring the educational needs of all pupils remain a top priority, and that the current and future needs of the county's growing population can be met.
Ian Gifford, Operations Director for Kier Construction Eastern, comments: “We are delighted to be handing over the first stage of the project and look forward to continuing working with Essex County Council over the next few months to deliver Essex's first all-ages school."
Andrew Carrington, Managing Director of Strategic Land at Countryside, which is partnering with L&Q to deliver Beaulieu, said: “The opening of this school marks an historic moment in Beaulieu's ever-evolving development. As we all know, schools are at the heart of any community and it's certainly a privilege to have Essex's first all-ages school located by our square.
“I have no doubt it will provide many opportunities and positive outcomes for generations of children to come."