New secondary school near Corby, Weldon Village Academy, opens doors to first ever pupils
With the paint just about dry after a mammoth 18-month build, the first pupils arrived at Weldon Village Academy this morning (Tuesday, September 5).
An excited 103 pupils started life at the smart new school near to the new Weldon Park estate which is part of the Cambridgeshire-based Meridian Trust and was built in response to a squeeze on secondary school places across North Northamptonshire.
A theatre, drama studio, modern ICT suite, beauty salon classroom, spacious canteen overlooking open countryside and stunning views across Corby set the school aside from others in the area.
Several staff have joined the academy from other Corby secondaries.
New headteacher Matt Norris said that the year seven pupils will always be the eldest in the school, which will eventually be filled with 1,500 students as new cohorts join from primaries.
"Lots of our children come from Weldon C of E Primary and Priors Hall but we’ve also got of children from villages including Stanion, Brigstock and from Oundle,” he said.
He added that he has no worries about filling the school, despite a recent fall in birth rates and the current year being 17 pupils below the planned admission number. “I’ve got no concerns there,” he said.
"We’re able to have open evenings this year which we weren’t last year and once people see what’s on offer I’m confident pupils will want to come here.”
"The Government wants to offer parents a choice, and that’s what we’re doing here.”
Twins Jude and Sophia, 11, have joined the school from Weldon C of E.
Sophia said: “It’s great to be the first pupils here. It’s really nice. We’ve already got lots of friends that have come here.” Both said they are most looking forward to PE lessons – with Sophia a fan of basketball and Jude a footballer.
Builders are still putting finishing touches to the upper floors of the school and there is some landscaping to be done. And because there is only one year group at the school, only the bottom floor is currently being used. Lessons will move upstairs as the school expands and eventually there will be seven age groups at the school including A-level classes.
Murphy, who went to Danesholme Junior Academy said he got up at 7am to get ready for school.
"My mum and dad brought me this morning. I was a bit nervous but very excited.”
Former Weldon C of E pupil Florence said that she chose Weldon because there were no older pupils.
"I’m a bit shy so my mum and dad thought it would be a good place for me,” she said.
And Daisy, who previously went to Studfall Junior Academy, said: “I came here because it’s all brand new and the new equipment is great.”
To help children transition into the school, they were able to visit the building as it was being finished before attending a day at The Ferrers School in Higham Ferrers which is also run by Meridian.
The school will be holding an opening for prospective pupils currently in year 6 next month. Keep an eye on their website for further details