New nursery helps local community of Halesworth thrive

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Charles Mackesy OBE, a British illustrator and author visited children on site to officially open the new 30-place standalone nursery at Holton St Peter Primary School in the village of Holton, Halesworth. Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council worked together to use Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), to expand the school offering to include children aged two and three years old.

Now formally known as ‘Sparkles Nursery’, named after the Headteacher Christine Starkl, the new nursery will also be run by the ASSET Education Trust, whose vision is to ‘seek to equip and empower the next generation of children and create a more compassionate, equitable and sustainable world where they personally and collectively thrive’.

Christine Starkl, Headteacher at Holton St Peter Primary School, said: “I am over the moon to be able to offer a high standard facility that will give the young children of Holton and Halesworth community a fantastic start to life. I started working as Headteacher in September 2017, starting a very small nursery at Holton in September 2018 when my vision began. It was my dream and vision to have a purpose-built nursery. My dream has now come true! We have opened the doors to an amazing environment dedicated to young children. The current children are excited to be housed in a new building just for them. Our local children deserve the best that our small school and village can offer so I am pleased that our new nursery is now able to offer a high-quality education that they deserve.  I am so proud to be the Headteacher at Holton St Peter and now Sparkles Nursery.”

Built with the children and sustainability in mind, the new nursery features PV panels and air source heat pumps reducing the running costs and carbon footprint of the school. The design includes both timber cladding and brickwork, complementing the existing school building.

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “The new purpose-built nursery at Holton St Peter enables children to access their funded early years education within their local community at the village school. This facility provides additional nursery places in the local area. Suffolk County Council are pleased to have been able to work with East Suffolk District Council to secure funding from local housing development to fund this nursery.”

Councillor Kay Yule, East Suffolk Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Coastal Management said: “East Suffolk is delighted to have supported and funded the delivery of this new Nursery School, which has been 100% funded through the allocation up to £1,030,042 of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). For all housing growth planned for Halesworth and Holton, East Suffolk has now funded pre-school, primary and secondary education expansion through CIL to serve all of the pupils which will be generated by those homes. All of those projects have now been delivered, well in advance of most of the homes being built, ensuring sustainable housing growth and wider community benefits.  We hope this is the first of many such facilities which we will be helping to deliver with the County Council, funded by CIL.”

The main contractor for the scheme, Brooks and Wood, has worked with Concertus Design and Property Consultants to provide the new facilities. This includes an office, a quiet room, a kitchen, and a classroom, leading to additional outdoor learning space with planting beds and climbing plants that soften the overall feel of the build.

Charles Coulson, Associate Director from Concertus, said: “We are pleased to have been involved in the latest addition at Holton St Peter Primary School. With a small site on an existing school, we were keen to provide a compact design that provides the required areas for learning without disrupting the primary school. The new nursery building is a fantastic asset and a space that will benefit the whole school and the local area.”

Stuart Boardley, Director at Brooks and Wood said: “Brooks and Wood were once again delighted to deliver this important scheme in partnership with Concertus and Suffolk County Council. The delivery of this project was so important to both the school and Holton’s community, so we are delighted to have played our part in its success story.”

The governors, staff, and children are so excited about their new nursery, that during the official opening a ‘Time Capsule’ was buried to mark this special milestone.