Swindon Council?s aim to close two West Swindon primary schools and reduce the number of places available passed the first hurdle on 19 July when Salt Way Primary in Middleleaze said goodbye to its children and teachers.
Over 70 children will start at Shaw Ridge primary in early September whilst the seven teachers have moved on to new jobs or are still looking.
Parents, past pupils and teachers were invited to an end of era party on before the end of term to look at photographs of activities, class albums, children’s work and press cuttings since the school open in September 1987, pictured right.
Deputy headteacher Penny Wood, who has retired from teaching, said she had a lot of fun delving into the archives to bring all the material together.
Chairman of governors Steve Spence said it was nice to see children who had moved on to different secondary schools meeting up.
The first caretaker Reg Browning, who retired in 2003, said,"Salt Way staff organised fun events for the children during July including trips to theme parks and a morning 10 pin bowling."
Artists No Added Sugar spent a week in late June working in school to create artworks to be taken to Shaw Ridge. Children watched Gordon Dickinson make a giant metal sculpture from their ideas, using Salt Way?s red and the blue of Shaw Ridge as its primary colours, pictured below.
Indoors children painted a series of panels on the theme of art through the ages with help from artist Toni Robinson. Reception children created a caveman painting whilst Year 5 concentrated on the modernists.
Headteacher Sue Smith, who moves to Aldbourne Primary School in September, said a great deal of work had gone into making the transition between schools as smooth as possible.
"There are mixed feelings about the closing, but we’ve worked very closely with Shaw Ridge to ensure all the children are integrated. They’ve all met their new teachers and the majority are confident about the future."
Salt Way to continue as education site
Everything of educational value was transported to Shaw Ridge at the end of term to be sorted and used and equipment surplus to requirements will be offered to other West Swindon primary schools. School displays have been left on notice boards so that the new users get the sense the empty building has a soul and a history before they arrived.
Swindon Council and the Swindon Primary Care Trust will be turning the school into a multi-agency childrens? services centre with a focus on children with disabilities and complex health needs – bringing together a range of education and health related services, many presently located at Victoria Hospital in Old Town which is to redeveloped. These include speech therapy, occupational therapy, paediatric assessment and also the Koala?s special needs? playgroup. Discussions with other departments about a move to Salt Way are continuing.
A Sure Start Childrens? Centre to provide support, help and advice to parents in the Shaw/Nine Elms ward and also Grange Park – to complement the West Swindon Family Centre which serves Freshbrook, Toothill and Westlea – will also be established.