Geneticist Dame Kay Davies cut the ribbon to the new £8 million Avonwood Primary school building – which includes a purpose-built science laboratory.
And while genetics is the building block of life, Dame Davies – who was at the forefront of identifying the gene that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy – said primary education is the foundation for forming who we are.
She said: “It was an honour to be invited to open this wonderful school building.
“The facilities are second to none and for primary school aged children to have their own science laboratory is just fantastic.
“If we can get very young children to discover the wonders of science from the outset of their education then we are more likely to nurture the scientists of the future.”
Avonwood Primary was formed in September 2014 to help meet the urgent need for more primary school places in Bournemouth.
Its new building opened in September 2015 and is currently home to 130 four, five and six year-olds and will eventually cater for 658 four to 11 year-olds by 2020.
The school has also become the first UK Earth Charter school – embracing the principles of the Rio-based organisation that promotes tolerance and peace, sustainability and democracy.
CEO of Avonbourne Trust, Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, said: “It was a privilege to welcome Dame Kay Davies and also representatives from the Earth Charter to our newest member of the Trust family.
“We are very proud that we have a fantastic new building that provides the best start to a child’s education by giving them the very best facilities, such as the science lab.
“And with the Earth Charter principles underpinning everything we do at Avonwood we are also building the foundations that will help every child contribute to a better world.”
Avonwood is one of very few primary schools to have a purpose-built science lab. The new school building also includes a large hall with stage, which is also used as a gym; modern classrooms letting in lots of light, an ICT suite, a library and outdoor learning resources.
Avonwood Primary is part of Avonbourne Trust – home to Avonbourne College (girls 11-16), Harewood College (boys 11-16) and Avonbourne Sixth Form (mixed 16-19). The new building neighbours Avonbourne College on its grounds off Harewood Avenue.
Avonbourne Trust introduced Earth Charter principles to its teaching at Avonbourne and Harewood colleges in 2008, when Bournemouth Borough Council became the first Earth Charter local authority.
It has now taken the next step by making Avonwood an official Earth Charter school, the first of its kind in the UK.
Note to editors:
From 2005-2011 the birth rate in Bournemouth increased by 44%.
In March 2013, Bournemouth Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed to provide an additional 360 primary school places in Bournemouth for September 2014 to meet the expected demand for school places.
Demand for primary school places was also forecast to continue to increase in 2015 and 2016.
In 2013, the council approved the business case for situating a new primary school on the grounds of Avonbourne College and this was endorsed by the Department for Education, which provided funding for the new school building.
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