Chesterfield school unveils new clasrooms - after incredible community fundraising campaign
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Dave Ratcliffe, headteacher at Wigley Primary school, explained that there had been repeated attempts to provide another classroom at the Old Brampton site for two decades – but rising costs and planning issues meant they never got off the ground.
In 2019, a new ‘rotunda’ design was put forward, focusing on eco-friendly aspects of the building, which led to plans being drawn up – however there was then the issue of how to fund the development.
Mr Ratcliffe said: “It was made very clear to me that there was no additional funding available from the local authority, nor any match funding – it was up to us. We continued to grow our own premises development pot, managed the budget carefully, welcomed new pupils across all year groups due to our increased popularity, received incredibly generous donations from parents, grand-parents, pupils, friends, ex-pupils, the Duke of Devonshire, strangers who saw our appeal and we raised funds via PTFA and school events. Staff even dipped into their own pockets and donated to our GoFundMe account.
“The entire school community had a part to play in raising the £115,000 needed for what you see today. This building is truly ours. It not a product of a cash handout or a county pot of money, it’s a product of the sheer determination and commitment of our Wigley Family. My sincere thanks must go to each and every person that helped to raise such an incredible amount of money. Not bad for a school with 49 pupils on roll.”
The grand opening of the building was delayed from the start of term so that it could be fully up and running to ‘give a true sense of the difference that the building has made to the school’.
Janet Dore, a teaching assistant who has been at the school for over 22 years, joined the headteacher in cutting the ribbon. Mr Ratcliffe added: “She has seen all original plans come and go and never thought she’d actually see it happen. In her words: ‘I still can’t believe we have these two new, wonderful classrooms’.”