COLCHESTER'S newest primary school is set to open next month after coronavirus caused delays to the construction works.

The 420-place Lakelands Primary School, in Wagtail Mews, Stanway, was set to open in September, however the nationwide lockdown caused delays to Barnes Construction's works on site.

However, 25 reception students have been welcomed on to the school's roll, being taught in temporary accommodation at nearby Stanway Fiveways Primary School for now.

Works on the £6.5 million school, funded by Essex County Council and developer's infrastructure payments, are nearing completion, with students set to attend the new facility after the October half-term.

Halstead Gazette:

Home Secretary Priti Patel paid a visit to the site to meet staff and see the new facilities in person.

Ms Patel, whose Witham constituency includes Stanway, said: "A great many new homes are being built in Stanway and this kind of infrastructure is badly needed to support the population growth we are seeing.

"There is no doubt that Covid-19 has held things up but I congratulate everyone involved in keeping the project going by making alternative arrangements for the reception pupils who started last week and by getting the construction work underway again.

“To be only a half-term behind, given all the difficulties created by the pandemic, is exceptional and I wish Lakelands Primary School every success in the future."

Lakelands Primary School is part of the The Chelmsford Learning Partnership Trust, which runs seven schools across Essex.

Halstead Gazette:

The school's new headteacher Koulla Anslow said it was a pleasure to welcome the Home Secretary to the school.

She said: "She has supported Lakelands from the outset and we welcomed the opportunity to show her how well it is progressing.

"We are proud to belong to such a supportive community who have helped us reach this stage, and even more so of our pupils who have already settled into school life brilliantly.

"We are all very excited about being able to open in our permanent home next month.”

Halstead Gazette:

Ray Gooding, Essex County Council's education and skills boss, added: "We are extremely pleased that construction of Lakelands Primary School is now back on track and will shortly be ready to welcome pupils.

"We know just how much additional primary school places are needed in Colchester and now that work has resumed, it won’t be long before pupils are able to enjoy their new facilities."