BARTON Farm Primary Academy has officially opened its doors with a special presentation featuring TV personality Alan Titchmarsh.

The school, part of the University of Winchester Academy Trust, first opened in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic with only a single Year R class. Three years on and the school has now been officially opened.

Guests from the University of Winchester, Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council were given a tour of the school campus and attended a special assembly where the children heard from Alan and sang a song as a school. Some pupils were also invited to the front to recite a poem which had been written collaboratively by all the children in the school.

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The children were then taken outside into the school grounds, where Alan planted a special commemorative tree, with a plaque marking the occasion. During the assembly, he was also gifted with a copy of the school poem and a specially engraved shovel commemorating his visit.

Speaking after the ceremony head teacher Nicola Wells said: “It’s been fantastic to bring together our community. There are lots of people who were involved with the planning and the building of the school, it’s taken many years. I’ve been involved since 2017, it took a long time for the school to come together.

“So it’s really lovely to welcome those people back to the school to see it in operation, with the children, and we’re so honoured to have Alan with us today, who has made it a special event for everybody.”

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%image('16531685', type="article-full", alt="Nicola Wells with Alan Titchmarsh at the official opening of Barton Farm Primary Academy")During the event, plans were also revealed that a time capsule will be buried in the school grounds at a later date, to be dug up in 20 years’ time. The capsule will contain a wide variety of items showcasing the opening of the school and its history so far, including an initial plan of the school, a t-shirt bearing the school’s logo, a photo of the initial 2020 Year R class and predictions from the pupils about what the future will be like.

Located on the King’s Barton development, Barton Farm Primary Academy offers education for children aged from four to 11 who live on the estate. It currently has four classes from year R to Year 2.

Nicola added: “We basically grow from the bottom up every year, so next year we’ll take two more Year R classes.

“The estate should be, when it’s finished, around 2,000 houses so the school has been built to serve those houses.”