Although we all know that Northgate Primary School has been up and running since September 2017, today was its formal and official opening, cake slicing, ribbon cutting and speech making. The ribbon was cut by the youngest and oldest pupil at the school (that’s rising 4 and rising 7) and the cake was cut (and eaten) by County Council Leader David Fothergill. Mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Graham Granter, County Councillor Leigh Redman and Westover Ward Councillor Brian Smedley were all there as well to (officially) wish them all well.
Northgate School has been built on the site of the former Workhouse – which, with its hexagonal shape, forms the basis of the schools logo along with compass points showing the North. People don’t just throw these logos together you know. The school was finally built after a lengthy battle between Bridgwater Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council over controversial plans by the District to site a Tesco Extra here and which were eventually scrapped after the supermarket giant pulled out anyway. Since this time Town & District have both supported County’s plans to build a much needed school.
The School is run by the Clevedon Learning Trust, whose Chief Executive, John Wells, introduced the day while new Executive Head Teacher Heather Good introduced her staff and the pupils, all 47 of who wandered into the hall to give a presentation to the visitors. The smallest sang a song about a ‘flippy floppy’ scarecrow -well, mainly the teachers did, while they mimed the flippy floppy actions – and without a single tear of stage-fright. Then the mid-rangers turned up and spoke in unison about why they liked the school and especially their teachers (as the teachers prompted from the wings) and finally the older students strode forth individually to say what they liked best about the school -mainly making new friends, using the great equipment provided and being supported by their lovely teachers. John Wells pointed out, quite rightly, “Now you can understand why teaching is a vocation.”
Then it was outside for the special guests – not the Mayor of Bridgwater, who patiently waited in the wings, not the Leader of Somerset, who could barely prevent himself from getting involved, even holding the ribbon at one stage, but the pupils themselves. The youngest and oldest students ; Narla-Faith Darby and Ferlando Hockey, cut the ribbon and the school was open.
After that it was cake time and all the dignatories piled back into the hall to feast on sandwiches, cake and coffee, and to network about future plans for community use of the facilities available which included a 3G sports pitch and meeting and activity rooms plus a nursery.
The school website can be found here.
Bridgwater Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley said “The school is a great asset to Bridgwater and an ideal choice for this location. Much better than a supermarket for sure and the perfect antithesis to it’s original use as a workhouse. The children are in extremely capable hands with the dedicated staff they have a wonderful building and setting to spend their formative years growing up in.”
“Finally the Northgate site is bearing fruits and soon we’ll see further developments linking the docks to the town centre, retaining and enhancing the green space and introducing a leisure facility with new shops and food outlets onto the old Splash site. The project has been achieved by the 3 local councils working together and, through the Town Development Forum, consulting the people of Bridgwater every step of the way and so let’s hope we can go forward and do the same with the rest of this controversial site.”