Derelict primary school rises from the ashes and given new lease of life as a learning support centre

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An old primary school in Grovehill has been given a million pound makeover and reopened as part of the borough’s only educational support facility.

Barncroft Primary School closed in 2007 after a lack of demand for places, and in 2011 it was decided that the site on Washington Avenue would be revamped to house wayward teens from the Dacorum Education Support Centre, known as DESC.

Previously the Key Stage 3 and 4 team were using temporary accommodation at West Herts College in the town centre, and headteacher Sara Lalis soon realised there was a great need for a more permanent building.

Sara, who is also head at the DESC Tenzing Road site in Adeyfield, said at the opening: “I want to welcome everybody here to Barncroft Campus. It’s an incredibly proud moment for me as a headteacher and to see the reality of something that we’ve been planning for the last three years is really exciting.”

Plans were drawn up and funding allocated back in 2011, but the revamp was put on hold for more than a year, meaning staff and students only moved in at the start of the academic year in September.

Sara watched as Herts County Council cabinet member for education Chris Hayward cut the ribbon held by two former DESC students who have turned their lives around thanks to the centre.

Chris said: “This establishment is pretty unique because not only has it had an outstanding recognition by Ofsted earlier this year, but it’s had something that I don’t believe any other Hertfordshire educational establishment has got, and that’s ‘stonkingly outstanding’.

“That is an incredible tribute to the work that’s being done in this building and really reflects brilliantly on the head and the staff.”

The Barncroft Campus provides a learning environment for youngsters in Years 10 and 11 who are not in mainstream education. With the specialised outreach team and the dedicated teaching staff, they are able to study for GCSEs and work towards a brighter future.

For more information, visit the DESC website here.




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