New headteacher drafts in RAF to transform Ixworth Primary School's outside area
A new headteacher drafted in nearly 30 RAF trainees to help transform an outside area as part of her mission to make her school more 'outward looking'.
Lyndsey Allsopp took the helm of Ixworth Church of England Primary in April and, in her first major project, wanted to spruce up the school's huge outdoor site which boasts pond, wildlife, gardening and Forest School areas.
With the help of a parent Sergeant Gareth Buckley who works at RAF Honington, she brought in 29 trainees from the base who, together with children, staff, parents and governors, battled the sweltering heat to tidy the site on Saturday.
"They turned up at 9.30am on Saturday morning on a great big coach raring to go," Mrs Allsopp said.
"I'm used to talking to 200 children but not 29 RAF trainees but they were impeccably behaved, polite, good mannered and they worked exceptionally hard.
"We're a church school and the values that are really important to us were values they demonstrated.
"They were extremely respectful of our school site, they persevered as it was incredibly hot and they were extremely positive.
"Even when it got to 2pm and it was extremely close to (the England match) kick off, they didn't leave until 2.30pm. The teamwork was amazing."
They laid wood chip pathways in the wildlife and forest areas, cut back overgrown plants, painted 72 metres of fencing and cleared the pond area.
The team also dug out garden boxes ready for pupils to plant in the autumn term.
It follows appeals for equipment on social media and in the school's newsletter as well as donations from businesses.
Marlows Home and Garden Centre provided woodchip and wood stain, Wyevale Garden Centre donated woodchip and British Sugar gave 10 tonnes of top soil.
Hillcrest Nursery also donated a £50 gift voucher, which Mrs Allsopp plans to spend on plants to 'pretty up' the front of the school.
She said: "We're hugely grateful to the trainees and to the whole school community who worked so hard to develop these areas for our children."
Ixworth Primary will hold its next garden day in the autumn and Mrs Allsopp hopes even more people in the community will be able to help.
We're a school that's looking to really build our relationship with the village community and be an outward looking school - Lyndsey Allsopp
With Mrs Allsopp's arrival, a new era has taken root at the school, which became an academy in December and is part of the Tilian Partnership Multi Academy Trust with Bardwell, Rougham, Palgrave, Gislingham and Old Newton Primary Schools.
With a 25 year teaching career, she was previously deputy headteacher at St Edmundsbury Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School in Bury St Edmunds.
Before St Edmundsbury, Mrs Allsopp served as a supply teacher and worked 'in pretty much every Bury school' including Ixworth.
On her vision for the school, she said: "I'm proud to be headteacher at Ixworth Primary School and to be part of the Tilian Partnership.
"We're a school that's looking to really build our relationship with the village community and be an outward looking school, not just within the local community but nationally and globally."
This includes working with other local schools such as Ixworth Free School as well St Mary's Church in Ixworth.
On a national level, they will be working with Primary East (Suffolk & Norfolk Teaching School Alliance) and globally they want to develop links with an orphanage in the Philippines called The House of Joshua.
"I'm a firm believer in using the outside environment to enrich our curriculum and engage the children with their learning," she added.
"I feel really excited about moving forward with the school - building a better school in our local community.
"I'm fired up and ready to go."
- For more pictures, see this week's Bury Free Press newspaper.