Work starts on second new primary school for North Solihull

Sue Vyvyan, headteacher of Kingfisher Primary School, with pupil Scott Aitken (seated) and Paul Hanbury from the North Solihull Partnership. Kingfisher Primary pupil Scott Aitken helps work get underway on his new school. Headteacher Sue Vyvyan with Paul Hanbury from the North Solihull Partnership and Kingfisher Primary pupil Scott Aitken.

(4th February 2008)

Work has begun on a new primary school that will form the centrepiece of the first new village centre in the heart of North Solihull's regeneration zone.

The new Kingfisher Primary School, which is being built on the playing fields of the current school in Kingfisher Drive, will accommodate 420 children, ensuring it is large enough to cater for increase in potential pupils living in the area by the time the 15 year Regenerating North Solihull programme draws to a close.

The state-of-the-art primary school, designed by Architects Design Partnership (ADP) will open its doors at the end of 2008, and will be the first element of the North Arran Way Village Centre to reach completion.

Janet Bradbury, chief executive of the North Solihull Partnership, said: "This is another fantastic milestone in the transformation of the educational facilities for young people in North Solihull.  As well as providing a building fit for the 21st Century for pupils and staff to enjoy, the new Kingfisher Primary School will also send out a message to the whole community that the Partnership is continuing to live up to its promises."

The replacement of every primary school in the three wards of Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge that make up North Solihull is a key plank of the £1.8 billion Regenerating North Solihull project. The 15 year project, being driven by the North Solihull Partnership, will see the construction of five village centres, 8,000 new homes and the improvement of 12,500 more as well as significant improvements to the local transport infrastructure.

The village centres will become a new focal point for the community with a mixture of retail and offices as well as health and educational amenities. As well as providing a new school building, the new Kingfisher Primary School will also include a 30-place nursery and 'wrap around care' for young children as well as featuring a crèche and adult learning facilities.

The building will also have additional space for use by the parish council, as well as further health and social care provision and it is proposed that the building will be open from 8am to 10pm throughout the week, 50 weeks of the year.                 

The school itself will feature a single-storey classroom area and a two-storey element for the community facilities, with the ground floor classrooms having direct access to secure outdoor teaching areas as well as the redesigned play and sport areas. Different colour glazing to diffuse light will be used throughout the building, whilst metal slats will be a feature on the front of the building to provide shade.

Headteacher Sue Vyvyan said: "Coming back to school after the Christmas holiday was a really exciting time at Kingfisher, as work has now started on the building of our new school. The children are watching eagerly as the diggers begin transforming what had once been our old playground.

"Our new school, situated on what will be the new High Street for North Arran Way Village Centre, will be at the heart of the community, offering a first class education and support to children and families, helping to make a better future for the residents of Smith's Wood."

The final phase of the new Kingfisher Primary School will see the demolition of the former school building, creation of a new play ground and extensive playing fields, and adjacent land used as part of the wider village centre development. The 78 week project will be carried out by Allenbuild.

The North Solihull Partnership is made up of Solihull Council, Bellway Homes, registered social landlord Whitefriars Housing Group and regeneration specialists Inpartnership