Pupils in Northampton keep an eye on construction work at new school building

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Pupils at Malcolm Arnold Preparatory School (MAPS) are keeping a close eye on construction work for their new school building.

Work started on the two-storey building at Trinity AVenue in Northampton in September and once open it will accommodate 420 pupils.

Youngsters already at the preparatory school have been invited onto the site to see what happens on a building site.

Midlands-based construction firm, G F Tomlinson has been working closely with MAPS and the Malcolm Arnold Academy to offer weekly site visits to the best-behaved children and on-site mentoring for the academy’s head boy.

The school’s foundations were recently laid and 118 pupils from MAPS, which is part of the David Ross Education Trust, watched 300 tonnes of concrete being poured into the ground as the foundations were set in place.

They also took part in hands-on workshops to learn more about the science, technology, engineering and maths behind the construction and met the industry safety mascot, ‘Ivor Goodsite’ to learn how to stay safe around building sites.

Jenna-Mae, aged 5 said: “It was amazing, I’m really excited about my new school and the size of the rooms.”

Evan, aged 5 said: “I thought the upstairs was really cool - there will be a lift. I really liked the diggers and thought Ivor Goodsite was really kind – he told us how important it is to wear a hard hat and a bright jacket.”

The school’s best-behaved children are also offered weekly site visits to keep an eye on the progress the contactor is making.

Ben Steere, head boy of MAPS’ sister school, Malcolm Arnold Academy has also been invited on site after expressing a desire to pursue a career in engineering. He now spends up to two hours a week on site with the G F Tomlinson team.

He said:“When I reached out to G F Tomlinson through the academy, I was very impressed with their enthusiasm to help me, not only gain valuable on site work experience and technical skills, but to go further and help me work closely with their site manager and project manager to develop my communication, management and teamwork skills in preparation for my engineering degree and career.

“Overall I’ve found working with and gaining experience from G F Tomlinson’s excellent, talented staff to be incredibly rewarding, enjoyable and inspirational. I can’t thank them enough!”

Headteacher for MAPS, Marie Lally said: “This is such an exciting time for our school. The pupils have been eagerly watching as the new building develops and to see the concrete being poured was particularly exciting for all 118 children who had the opportunity to ask questions about their new school too.

“Pupils have been visiting the site each week to hear all about how the building is being constructed and tell their peers about the jobs the building team have to carry out in the classroom. The children are absolutely fascinated and are so excited about their new school.”

Site manager for G F Tomlinson, Gary Spencer said: “It’s been a pleasure welcoming the pupils from the preparatory school and academy on site. We are committed to engaging with the school throughout the build and these site visits have been really well received by the pupils and teachers.

“We’re committed to providing development opportunities for students like Ben to gain hands-on experience before leaving school. The weekly mentoring sessions continue to give him additional knowledge that will help shape his career in the future.

“Beth Chamberlain, our assistant site manager is an excellent female role model showing that construction isn’t just a man’s job, there are plenty of career opportunities available for women too.”