The £11million build opens up for first time for summer term

A new era has begun at South Molton Community College.

The school's new £11million building opened to pupils on Wednesday as they returned for the summer term after nearly 18 months of building.

A new sports hall accompanies the three-storey complex, which houses all of the classrooms and deparments, a change that headteacher Andrew Finney said brings more 'consistency'.

"It's a nice, bright building and it's a lovely place to be in," said Mr Finney.

"I think we sometimes forget what its like for a pupil to sit in classrooms all day, but this makes a huge difference.

"The students have said how proud they are of it. We had a whole school assembly in the new sports hall and they were fantastic, and in a new building it's funny how quickly it can all feel second nature.

"Within two days we emptied one building and set up a whole school, which was remarkable.

"At 15.30 on Tuesday I didn't think we were going to be ready, but it came together. It was amazing how well all the staff did."

The three-year project, has been overseen every step of the way by head of art and technology, Andrew Goode.

He said: "It's been a challenge, but now we have what we felt was best and right for the school and Wednesday was proof of that. We have got it just right.

"I'm sure there will be small teething problems - that's always going to happen.

"It's been a whirlwind for the last three years, but we have got to the point of being finished and I am really pleased."

The old school buildings were given a final send-off at the end of the spring term, with around 450 former pupils, parents and staff attending an open evening.

The school hopes to retain aspects of the old building, with loose plans to incorporate its coat of arms into the landscaping.

The town will see another new school building open on Monday, when South Molton United C of E Primary School and nursery begin their summer term at their new Exeter Gate premises.