The new St Michael’s CE Primary School has wrestled with adversities since it welcomed pupils to Larkhill in September, but it is now ready for new challenges.

The move to the historic location proved to be well worth it as the new facilities are top-notch and allowed the school to make the curriculum more engaging.

“We have a fantastic sports pitch, a multi-use games area, the landscaping is fabulous, we have a wildflower meadow, and there are playgrounds on different levels,” headteacher Nicky Phillips said.

“We have everything we need, we don’t have to use others’ premises.”

Opening of St Michael’s School Larkhill. Pictures by Len Copland

The school worked with Wessex Archaeology members who have talked to the children about the site, as the First World War training trenches were at the front of the school, and the Beaker people used to inhabit the area around it.

“It’s a fantastic learning resource for the children which has been super,” Nicky enthused.

“It’s really bringing the curriculum alive and making it pertinent and linked to our school site, which is lovely.”

The children settled in quickly as they had visited the school during construction, but before the official opening on November 9, there were hiccups; technical hitches, phones were not working properly and communication was an issue.

The teachers can now focus on what they need to be doing which, according to Nicky, is turning the children into life-long learners and provide them with the social and academic skills needed to go out into communities and “shine brightly”.

Opening of St Michael’s School Larkhill. Pictures by Len Copland

“I feel really strongly that, as a school, you can’t teach children everything they need to know. Our vision and philosophy is that we want to inspire curiosity by providing a really engaging curriculum,” Nicky added.

The school is part of the Army Basing Programme from which Wiltshire is forecast to get 4,000 service personnel and their families by the end of the decade.
How many children St. Michael’s will be taking, and when, is currently unclear, but Nicky hopes they will have answers early this year.

“The site opposite us is being built on by Lovell,” she said.

“We’ve been told the families will start moving into those houses from June and I don’t know whether this is completely true or not because things change, but we’ve been told to expect 10 families a week moving in from June.”

For now, all is well at Larkhill, and the future is bright, thanks to the whole team, according to Nicky, who stressed: “I’m hugely lucky to have a team of people behind me who have the same vision and passion and commitment to making this a really successful school.”

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