A combination of difficult ground conditions, not much time and a tiny budget was not the best starting point for a new classroom.
But thanks to some ingenuity and a real community effort, pupils are now using their new extension, featuring a full-size classroom, intervention room, ICT suite and toilets, at Hipsburn Primary School.
Following its switch from a first school, more classroom space was required to cater for Years 5 and 6.
The county council funded and built an additional classroom, which opened last year, but governors at Hipsburn wanted to improve further the provision for the children.
The combination of a small loan from the council and the school’s own fund-raising led to a limited budget, and to avoid disruption, the work needed to take place over the six-week summer holidays.
The solution came via one of the governors – James Chapple, who runs an architecture business in Alnwick. He found a company which provided a cost-effective way of building the foundations and another firm which created the entire classroom block off-site.
The building was lifted into place by crane in two halves with everything, from carpets to power sockets, already installed.
Headteacher Kevin Moloney said: “I would like to thank Mr Chapple, who has given a significant amount of time to manage and oversee our new classroom project.
“It’s been a long process, but Mr Chapple has worked with a sub-group of governors and parents have helped too.”
He added: “I am delighted with what the governors can offer here at Hipsburn. Staff and pupils are excited to begin using the new facilities on offer.”