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News > School News > Junior School and Nursery celebrate 10 year anniversary

Junior School and Nursery celebrate 10 year anniversary

9 Nov 2022
School News

DAME Allan’s Junior School and Nursery recently celebrated 10 years since the opening of its purpose-built site within six-acres of mature woodland, in Spital Tongues, Newcastle.

The derelict Victorian Hunter’s Moor Hospital land was acquired by Dame Allan’s Schools in 2009 and in its place was built a state-of-the-art, sustainable nursery and junior school for 300 pupils.

Pupils Sophia Shek and Charlotte Graham, now in Year 13 at Dame Allan’s Sixth Form, were among the first children to attend the new school when it opened its doors in 2012.

“I remember how prominent and big the new building seemed,” said Sophia, who was in Year 3 at the time, having attended Dame Allan’s former Forest Hall site since nursery. “It was a really exciting time and I loved it; I couldn’t have asked for better.”

Both Sophia and Charlotte now volunteer at the Junior School once a week as part of their Community Service work. Charlotte, who joined Dame Allan’s when the new school opened in September 2012, said: “I have really lovely memories of being here. We all had good relationships with the teachers and it’s so nice to now come back and support the children.”

Sophia added: “The school has given so much to me, I feel like I want to give something back, which is why I love volunteering here.”

Head Girl Isla Farren, in Year 6, started nursery just two years after the new site opened. She said: “It is such an organised and friendly school, I love it here.”

Head Boy Hector Walder, who joined last year, added: “I really enjoy all the sports we do here, especially cricket, rugby and hockey.”

Andrew Edge was the founding Head Teacher of Dame Allan’s Junior School and Nursery. Prior to the move, children were split between Linden School, in Forest Hall, and the senior school, in Fenham.

Following Mr Edge’s retirement in 2018, his contribution was recognised when the newly-installed yurt was named ‘The Edge’ in his honour. That same year, Geoff Laidler was appointed as the new Head Teacher.

Mr Laidler said: “The school has thrived over the last decade – both inside this truly fantastic building, with its nurturing and creative learning environment, and outdoors, where our education provision is second to none.

“We’ve created a large outdoor camp area and mud kitchen, and, with DASPA’s support, redeveloped the pond, allowing children to have lessons outside in all weathers, starting with our Skogsmulle programme in Early Years through to Forest School for the older pupils.”

The co-educational Junior School and Nursery forms the base of Dame Allan’s ‘diamond structure’ of education. Boys and girls learn together to develop their social kills from an early age, before moving to the single-sex schools in Year 7.

Deborah Farren joined Dame Allan’s Junior School in 1998 as a Year 6 teacher at the Fenham site, before taking the role of Deputy Head Teacher in 2004 and moving across to Forest Hall.

Reflecting on the relocation to Spital Tongues, she said: “It was so exciting to be part of the plans for developing the new school building. The benefits of having our own site, with so much space both internally and outdoors, have been incredible and allowed us to vastly expand our provision in creative arts, sports and outdoor education. 

“I feel immensely privileged to have been involved in this part of the Schools’ long history.”

 

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