The construction of a new £4million primary school in Bath has reached a significant milestone. The 210 place school, to be known as the Abbot Alphege Academy, a Church of England Primary School, recently enjoyed a ‘topping out ceremony which is based on an ancient Scandinavian tradition of placing a tree on top of the building to bring luck once the roof is completed and the building is technically watertight.

The news school is being built on the former Royal High School playing field site (The Chill) adjacent to the former Ministry of Defence (MOD) Ensleigh. It will serve the new housing development at Lansdown and the surrounding area.

The building has been designed by BBA Architects of Bath, the project being commissioned and managed by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Property Services Team in association with the School Capital Organisation Team within the Council’s People and Communities Directorate and in consultation with the prospective school Headteacher. The Main Contractor Rydon Construction commenced work on site in June 2016.

Councillor Michael Evans (Conservative, Midsomer Norton, North) Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “It’s good to see work on this brand new community facility developing well and on time. This school is one of two facilities which are due to begin welcoming pupils from September as part of the Council’s commitment to providing good quality education and facilities across the district.

“We know that when pupils are taught in good quality buildings which offer modern facilities they can thrive and we look forward to welcoming the first pupils in September.”

The school is due to open in September 2017 with a 30 place reception class and places available for other year groups. It is intended that these children together with future reception entries will progress through the school until the age of 11, at which point in September 2023 the school will be fully operational, with seven classrooms accommodating Reception, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils.

On opening, the school will have a hall, outside greenspace, including hard and soft informal play areas, a playing field and a habitat area. Abbot Alphege Academy will operate as a free school as part of the Comenius Academy Trust which was established in April 2016 and is already running the successful Weston All Saints Primary School under the leadership of Dr Anne Bull OBE.

This project is one of two new £4million primary schools within Bath and North East Somerset due to open in September 2017. The other school is on the Somerdale site in Keynsham.

The site for the school was sourced and procured by IM Group (Ensleigh) in 2013 as part of the comprehensive redevelopment of MOD Ensleigh and the surrounding land. The 10 acre site was bought from Bath Royal High School, part of the Girl’s Day School Trust, and the remainder of the land will provide 95 additional residential units including 38 affordable housing units.

IM land project managed the delivery of the school site and provided a fully serviced site to enable the school to open in Sept 2017.