Students making good use of new social space

STUDENTS at The Blue School, Wells, have started making use of the new sheltered area next to Bailey Hall that was funded by the local community.

Parent Rachel Sherman launched the fundraiser after an appeal to parents and carers by Headteacher Mark Woodlock for help in the aftermath of the discovery of cracks in the concrete floors in Kennion block.

Twenty classrooms have had to be closed as a result, and the school also lost a significant amount of social space.

Employees of shelter supply and installation company Premier Ltd spent the February half-term break building a canopy under which students can now gather at break and lunchtime.

Plans have also been revealed for 12 temporary classrooms to be installed from early March on the Kennion Courts behind Holland Hall, which will eventually allow all students to return to school full time.

Mark Woodlock said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of our community. What began as a plea for help from local businesses has snowballed and we have received donations and wonderful messages of support from far and wide. 

“Current and former students, parents, staff and businesses have contributed and many schools and sports clubs have been ‘wearing blue for The Blue’ and collecting donations for us. Glastonbury Festivals donated an extremely generous £10,000 and sizeable donations have been received from other companies and individuals.

“Rachel Sherman’s JustGiving page set out to raise £30,000 which was achieved within days and the total now stands at nearly twice that. Our PTA will now be continuing the fundraising via their JustGiving page, anticipating that our need will be longer term in view of the uncertainty around the building works that will need to be carried out. 

“The canopy is ready for the students to use. We are making plans to spend the additional funds to enhance further social areas for the students and work will be starting on our ‘Kennion Village’ which will be an installation of 12 temporary classrooms on our Kennion Courts, and which will allow all students to return to school full time after Easter. Our heartfelt thanks go to all who have supported, and continue to support us.”

He welcomed Rachel to the school after half-term to see the newly completed canopy.

She said: “This fundraiser has been a phenomenal display of kindness, support and appreciation. We have now raised over £80,000 for The Blue School from the JustGiving page and donations direct to the school. Absolutely amazing.

“It’s been wonderful to see the excitement and community connection this has brought to Wells, so many people have given it their all and it’s truly amazing. Seeing the canopy built and finished has been a very heartwarming experience, a really fabulous and much-needed space. 

“This has been achieved by everyone that donated and gave their time to help raise funds. Thank you again everyone so very much. You’ve all made a huge difference to our much-loved secondary school in Wells.” The extent of the building measures required for the old Kennion buildings is still being assessed.