The school was officially opened and blessed by the Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Revd Jane Steen on 18 November and supported by the famous artist Kieron Williamson.
Gayton Church of England Primary Academy, part of Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) and Gayton Goslings, was commissioned and funded by Norfolk County Council as part of the school’s capital programme and was designed by NPS. The new school caters for up to 56 nursery places and 210 places for primary school children.
At the opening, Bishop Jane said she was delighted to bless the new academy.
She said: “Excellence in education is foundational for a child’s life chances and children coming to Gayton CofE Academy will have their education enhanced by their stunning surroundings. Education encompasses academic learning but so much more: character, ethics, artistic ability and creativity are all fostered in schools and for our Church schools, Christian ethos supports children in being the people they were made to be. I shall keep Gayton school in my prayers as all concerned go forward into the future.”
World-famous artist, Kieron Williamson joined the official launch. He had the honour of opening the school’s new library named, ‘The Kieron Williamson Library.’ The library is the heart space of this fantastic new build and features a wealth of wonderful books both fiction and non-fiction. The library includes an extensive ‘diversity’ section and a growing selection of high-quality ‘recommended reads’.
Rachael Greenhalgh, Executive Head Teacher of Gayton Church of England Primary Academy said: “Kieron is one of the world’s youngest and most internationally known selling artists, starting at just five years old he is a true inspiration, and we are delighted to name our new library after him. It is an honour for our pupils to welcome such a talented local artist. Each of our classes is named after a famous artist and they have been enjoying learning about their class artist over the last few weeks. We hope to truly inspire our pupils by naming our library after Kieron Williamson.”
On the day, Kieron showcased his talents by sketching his latest artwork and taking questions and answers alongside his agent in the new library where he gave a demonstration in pastel oil and watercolour. Adrian Hill from The Gallery spoke about Kieron’s career as an artist and his meteoric rise to fame as the worlds’ most successful child art prodigy.
Kieron donated a signed limited-edition print taken from one of his beautiful oil paintings along with copies of his books, Coming to Light and My Chosen Path. He said: “It is such a privilege to have this wonderful new library named after me and I hope that many young people will benefit from this fabulous new facility and be inspired by my story and reading my books too.”
The world-famous artist spoke of his inspiration for the countryside of the rural scenes depicted in his work, the many characters he has had the pleasure in meeting over the years and his love of the Norfolk and Cornish coast. He talked about how over time he had integrated animals into his artworks and how after studying the anatomy of horses and cattle they now play a major part in his compositions.
He said: “I love the majestic presences of an animal in a painting, how it can give the open landscape a good focal point and a sense of overwhelming beauty.”
Children got the opportunity to ask Kieron questions about what inspired his art from primary school age.
Kier built the new site between Springvale and Vicarage Drive in Gayton near King’s Lynn, Norfolk and much thought was given to energy efficiency capabilities, including an air source heat pump, solar glass, efficient lighting system, and excellent insulation which is monitored to control room temperatures. The Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) is also looking to install solar panels on the South facing roof of the primary school.
The shiny new £6m build primary school has a central library space and a multi-use games area (MUGA). The Gayton Gosling Nursery building has a Children’s Room, a Community Room, a Sleeping Bay and lots of space with outdoor play areas.
Rachael Greenhalgh said: “We have worked on this project for ten years and so far, we are thrilled with the new build and the space. We are so lucky and proud to have this state-of-the-art school in rural West Norfolk.”
Mr Oliver Burwood, CEO of Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) said: “This is an excellent resource for the children in the village and reflects the high aspirations we have for all children within the Trust. It is a culmination of nearly a decade of hard work from the headteacher to get this underway and we thank all those involved in what is going to be a fantastic new school.”
Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Norfolk County Council Children’s Services, said: “We have been delighted to fund and support the building of this new school and nursery for the Gayton community. It will provide a fantastic learning environment for local children.”
The works began in November 2020 and the first foundations were laid in July 2021.