Milton Keynes’ first fossil-free ‘all-through’ school opens its doors
A brand new all-through school in the parish of Wavendon in the south east of Milton Keynes welcomed its first pupils today (Tuesday 6th September).
Glebe Farm School, part of the Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL) multi-academy trust, has opened its doors to 250 children and this will eventually rise to over 1,530 pupils. As an all-through school, children can enter at reception and stay all the way through to Year 11. There is also a 39-place full-time equivalent nursery.
“Our inclusive, all-through school will provide exceptional education for children from three years old to 16 years – what a privilege it is for us to be able to engage, inspire, shape and grow with our young people for such an impactful period of their lives,” explained Headteacher Matthew Shotton. “Underpinned by our strong Glebe Farm School values of Integrity, Responsibility, Endeavour, Bravery and Empathy, our school will be the ‘beating heart’ of its new and developing community. Serving children and young people from the immediate residential area and nearby towns and villages, we will offer unrivalled curriculum and enhancement opportunities, enabling pupils and students from all backgrounds to pursue their interests and fulfil their potential. As a centre of innovation, equipped with the latest education technology, and a commitment to outstanding pastoral support, we will give every learner the tools to be successful in the ever-evolving and challenging modern world. It is truly wonderful to welcome our first cohort of early years, reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 7 children.”
Sarah Bennett, Chief Executive of IFtL, said: “Glebe Farm School has already started on its journey shaping the future through its innovative and sustainable design and build. We are delighted that our doors are now open and we are excited and privileged to build the futures of all our young people, families, community and colleagues together. This is a school for everyone, and the local community will be able to enjoy its sports facilities, including indoor courts and outdoor pitches which can be accessed via a separate community entrance. We fully expect that Glebe Farm School will become a valuable space for community events. I would like to thank everyone who has made our vision of this school a reality and the inspirational school team that will continue its journey.”
Since 2015, Milton Keynes City Council has opened six new schools and expanded 22 others, creating thousands of new local school places. The council is well on track to be carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon negative by 2025, and in each case planners, architects and builders have aimed to have a positive impact on the environment by using clever designs and new, greener technologies.
Billed as Milton Keynes’ first fossil-free new build school, Glebe Farm School is ‘gas free’. Instead, air source heat pumps which absorb heat from the outside air provide all the energy needed for air and hot water. All lighting comes from ultra-efficient LEDs whilst hundreds of solar panels generate power for the building. Energy-saving technology such as zero carbon site hoarding and an onsite solar powered generator were employed during the construction, minimising any impacts on the local environment. 840 trees, donated by the Woodland Trust, have been planted on the grounds. The school was funded and developed by Milton Keynes City Council with building works carried out by Morgan Sindall Construction.
Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “This major new school is essential for the future of this fast growing area of the city. The whole site has been designed to have a minimal impact on the environment and will provide access to high-quality facilities for the local community. I am excited that this is an all-through school. Glebe Farm offers continuous support for pupils as they progress through full-time education. This creates unique opportunities for pupil-led mentoring, removes any anxiety associated with moving between schools, and provides stability and certainty for families. As Milton Keynes continues to expand, we will continue to invest in and prioritise our network of high-quality, local schools.”
“It is a great feeling to know that families and children are walking through the doors of Glebe Farm School,” added David Rowsell, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Northern Home Counties. “This project is a great showcase for how to rapidly create a high-end educational environment that is not just at the cutting edge of sustainable design but which has been delivering tangible social benefits to the local community at every stage of its development. Thanks to this combination of factors, the local area has a significantly increased student capacity and the school’s pupils will go through their educational journey in Milton Keynes’ first fossil-free school. The close and collaborative working relationship we have enjoyed with the project’s stakeholders, including Milton Keynes City Council, Inspiring Futures through Learning and the Pagabo national framework for major construction works, has been key to creating such a transformational facility.”