Chepstow fire school officially reopens new block

Free Press Series: Thornwell Primary foundation phase opens. Ruby Cusick, Alyssa Fitzgeralsd and Jacob Nicholas learning through play in one of the newly built classrooms. (7879098) Thornwell Primary foundation phase opens. Ruby Cusick, Alyssa Fitzgeralsd and Jacob Nicholas learning through play in one of the newly built classrooms. (7879098)

PART of a Chepstow primary school that was devastated in a blaze three years ago officially reopened on Friday.

Thornwell Primary School, on Thornwell Road, was hit by a fire in June 2011 which destroyed the infants’ building and its nursery unit.

Acting headteacher Tim Appleby said he was “thoroughly excited, as are all the staff” by the opening of the new building.

He said: “I think the children have been looking forward to their silver lining.”

An official ceremony was attended by Monmouthshire council’s chief executive Paul Matthews, council leader Cllr Peter Fox and cabinet member for children and schools Cllr Liz Hacket Pain, Monmouth MP David Davies and leader of the Labour group Cllr Dimitri Batrouni.

Later the chairman of Monmouthshire council, Cllr John Prosser, unveiled a plaque marking the official opening in front of children in the school council and guests and planted an acer tree to mark the occasion.

Cllr Hacket Pain said the new build, which is part of Monmouthshire council’s 21st Century Schools plan, was “absolutely wonderful. It is a great opportunity for the young people in the area.”

The chairman of governors, Gary Nicholas, who has two children at the school, said he was pleased with the impact that the building would have on the Thornwell community more widely.

He said: “For me personally I only live up the road so this is not just a school, this is my community.”

State of the art, open plan classrooms have been soundproofed to ensure two classes can work together without the danger of disturbing each other.

The school has been financed by about £1.5 million from Monmouthshire council and another £1.96 million was taken from fire insurance.

The temporary buildings which were used for the infant children have been removed from the site and work is currently underway to make the playground which accommodated them usable for the schoolchildren again.

And that, along with work to divert a sewer pipe, will be completed by the start of the new school year in September.

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