The atmosphere was electric at Samuel Barlow Primary Academy – part of the Diverse Academies Trust – as staff, children, parents and guests gathered to celebrate the grand opening of its new building extension on Thursday 25 April 2024.

The transformation of the building has been part of four-year phased investment project totalling just under £3 million. The initiative, fuelled by a £1.3 million investment by Section 106 funding via Nottinghamshire County Council as well as a significant investment by the Trust itself, aims to elevate the learning environment and outcomes for all children attending the academy.

The project, undertaken in two phases, began with the purchase of the old schoolhouse, relocation of the nursery/early years facility to the front of the building, allowing for easier access and enhanced learning spaces. This phase also saw the improvement of teaching and resource areas, as well as upgrades to classrooms and essential facilities throughout the academy.

Phase two focused on the construction of a new multipurpose hall, modern kitchen, upgrading of the car parking facilities, ramped pedestrian access to the front of the building, and updated main entrance, addressing long-standing issues with space and functionality.

Bailey Construction (Derby) Ltd led the execution of this phase, ensuring the project met the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship. Overall the project was developed and delivered by GNA Surveyors and CBP Architects.

Samuel Barlow’s pupils played a central role at the official opening event, with guests and VIPs being treated to a performance from the school choir, as well as the children being centre stage for the cutting of the ribbon ceremony.

Principal, Sarah Kahler, said: “It has been such a fantastic day here at the academy and a wonderful opportunity to showcase our new learning environment. With this expansion, we’re not just adding new space, we’re creating dynamic environments that inspire learning and foster a sense of community.”

Executive Principal, Gareth Letton, added: “The transformational impact of these renovations cannot be overstated. Not only have we increased our capacity to accommodate more children, but we’ve also created a more inclusive and accessible environment for all members of our academy community.”

Diverse Academies Trust Chief Executive Officer, David Cotton, commented: “This has been a significant investment by the Trust to improve educational provision and enhance pupil experience at Samuel Barlow Primary Academy. The academy has a long heritage as part of the Clipstone community and this development marks a new era for the school. We are delighted to have been able to future proof the building and create an inspiring environment for our young learners as the academy continues to go from strength to strength.”

Samuel Barlow Primary Academy is an Ofsted-rated ‘good’ academy. As it continues its journey of excellence in education, these enhancements signal a commitment to providing the best possible learning experience for every child who walks through its doors.