A New Type Of School

WELLSMEAD 'First School' opened last week-and still in the last stages of construction. It is the first purpose built First School in North Bucks, and one of the most unusual schools in the area.

The school has adopted the highly successful 'open space' planning from nearby Wellsmead Middle School and carried it one step further. Eight classrooms, which can be opened on to each other, lie in a rectangle around an open courtyard. Diffused light from raised skylights give the classrooms a bright attractive appearance.

Mrs. Jill Webberley, former deputy head of Abbeys Infants, takes over as head mistress and is justifiably proud of her new school.

“It is really one of the best designed schools in North Bucks and a step forward for schools in the area We have facilities here that no other infants school can offer. Obviously I think that when parents see what the school can offer their children, they will be highly delighted. I think that for the first time here architects and designers have realised that young children are able to use facilities by themselves. At one stage it was thought that children this age, would need supervision all the time.”

The most original idea to come from the designers’ table has been the introduction of four ‘quiet rooms.’ These are small library-cum-studies between classrooms where children can escape from any noise to tackle quieter activities. they can also be used by teachers to break classes into smaller units or to carry on a class within a class.

Entering the school is rather like walking into a gigantic dolls house. Everything is scaled down for use by five-year-olds. Table tops rise to just under your knees, cloakroom pegs are waist high, and chairs are positively miniature.

Other new facilities include work bays in each classroom, where children can get to grips with the more practical aspects of an elementary education, Paved outdoor areas are available for use- weather permitting.

eight teachers make up the staff at the school, many of whom have transferred along with the pupils from the primary school. two hundred pupils began last week with 35 new entrants due to start this month. As is usual in such cases, Mrs. Webberley is restricting the entry of new pupils until the school has settled down and is running smoothly.

Above: Mrs. Jill Webberley demonstrating a new teaching device to some of the pupils of her new school.
Wellsmead First School was not completely ready for the beginning of the new term. Instead of opening on the Thursday - when all the other Bletchley schools re-opened - children did not start until the following Monday.
At the meeting of the Divisional Executive this week, Mr. D.G. Lucas, divisional educational officer, said “the building was a little late”, but the school with the exception of the kitchen was now in operation.