STAFF and students at a Herefordshire secondary school returned to school to see the ground being prepared for their new multi-million pound science centre.

The building, to be completed by the spring term of 2022, marks the start of a number of new initiatives and investments to support students at John Kyrle High School – which is particularly important as a record number of year sevens joined the school in September.

Rod Barker, school trustee, said: “The science centre is a very exciting development as it will enable us to continue to offer first-class education to an increasing number of young people in the area.

"I am extremely grateful to Mr Griffiths and his team who have done a fantastic job in planning, and securing funds for yet another milestone in the development of JKHS.”

The school’s athletics facilities will also be developed later in the year and there are lots of plans in place to further enhance teaching and learning.

Headteacher Nigel Griffiths said it was heartening to be having all the students back in school.

“Although some Covid restrictions still apply, the school is operating more as normal with, for example, teachers now teaching in their own rooms and students being able to mix much more freely," he said.

"The sense of community that is such an important part of our school life is really starting to return in abundance.

“While the education sector as a whole talks about “catch up”, our focus is very much on what more we can to do help our students to be happy and successful. Not only are investing significantly in the school, but we are looking at any ways we can to ensure we do the very best for our staff and students in the classroom. The welcome return of school trips, sporting competitions and events is also very exciting.”

Mt Griffiths added that particular praise should be given to partner primary schools as education returns to some levels of normality.

“Welcoming a record number of year sevens was something that we carefully considered given that they have had their last two years of primary school disrupted by the pandemic. We have, however, been delighted by where these children are up to with their learning and their approach to high school – and that is down to all the amazing work that has been happening in homes, classrooms and Zoom calls across the area. Our primary schools deserve huge credit for all that they have achieved.

“Our new facilities will help us build on this – and I look forward to seeing our students thrive.”