The new state of the art shared school campus of Bargarran and St John Bosco Primary Schools in Erskine has been officially opened by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills unveiled a commemorative plaque at the campus, which also hosts the St John Bosco Early Learning and Childcare Class and a community learning space.
Pupils entertained invited guests, who also included MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands and MSP for Renfrewshire North and West and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek Mackay.
The children staged three short performances, including a joint song from some of the new primary one pupils who were at nursery together last year.
The two-storey building was designed by Renfrewshire Council, with Heron Bros constructing the double storey school as part of the local authority’s £16 million investment in the facility.
The new building has mirrored wings for the two schools over two levels, with flexible spaces which support independent learning.
On the ground floor, all classrooms lead out onto a playground area or courtyard for outside learning, while upstairs classes have access to a balcony area. Toilets and cloakroom facilities link to the outside and the shared dining hall doubles up as an ‘after school’ area.
The playground area was designed in consultation with the pupils and will eventually include a performance space with canopy, trim trail, picnic benches, an eco-growing area, climbing wall, wobble board, spiral climbing net, an all-weather sport pitch and timber amphitheatre.
The new facility also features a sustainable ‘green roof’ where seeds from native species have been planted. Once the plants have fully grown, a permanent video link to classrooms will be installed which will allow pupils to view wildlife in real time.
Photo: The unveiling of the plaque – Left to Right: Bargarran Head teacher Alistair Lyle, Bargarran pupil Megan Notman, Deputy First Minister Jihn Swinney, St John Bosco HT Karen Mackechnie, St John Bosco pupil Nathan Cairns
St John Bosco is a denominational school and the original school was built in 1972, while Bargarran is a non-denominational school which opened in 1971.
Karen MacKechnie, Head Teacher, St John Bosco Primary School, said: “The opportunity for staff and pupils to be part of the design process with the project management team has resulted in an outstanding building for the children in our local community. It’s a building that is truly fit for 21st century learning.
“At the heart of our school is the Oratory which provides a calm, spiritual area for reflection, prayer and worship.
“The information and communications technology facilities are world-class and our children and staff are buzzing with excitement in their new indoor and outdoor learning environments.”
Staff, pupils and parents first entered the new school building in April 2018 and Bargarran Head Teacher, Alistair Lyle said: “The new building provides a wonderful environment for both children to learn in and teachers to teach in.
“The informal and formal teaching areas and access to the outdoors in all classrooms means the children can experience a wide range of approaches to learning. Children across the school regularly talk about their excitement about the school’s design and their enthusiasm for learning in the new building.
“The playground and the wide range of play equipment is also another fantastic opportunity to promote the children’s health and wellbeing.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It was a pleasure to be asked by Renfrewshire Council to officially open the new state of the art facilities at Bargarran and St John Bosco schools campus.
“We want all of our young people to have access to innovative and inspirational settings like this which parents, staff and learners can be proud of. The young people I have met today are making full use of this wonderful building and I wish them all the best for their future.”
Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “We are committed to providing the best learning environments possible for our children and young people and this new shared campus is a wonderful example of that.
“I am sure it will play host to many years of exciting and engaging learning.”