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St John's CE Primary Academy Celebrates Official Opening

The primary school site of the Trust's new ‘all through’ Church of England school on the Wellington Gate Development in Grove was officially opened today by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Mrs Marjorie Neasham Glasgow, BEM.

Mrs Glasgow unveiled a specially commissioned sculpture and the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Gavin Collins performed a dedication and blessing.

After the opening speeches, including an address by Cllr John Howson, OCC Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Young People, 80+ guests enjoyed a tour of St John’s, followed by a special song performed by Reception children.

In addition to local church representatives, guests from the DfE, OCC and Grove Parish Council were also present. County Councillors Jenny Hannaby and Jane Hanna, Wantage and Didcot MP David Johnston and the Deputy Mayor of Wantage were also there. The Vale Academy Trust partnered with Oxfordshire County Council in delivering the new school.

Beth Taylor, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said “This is a very happy day for everyone at the Vale Academy Trust.  It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to mark the opening of St John’s CE Academy with children and teachers, friends and colleagues, as well as our distinguished guests. 

This school, at the heart of the new Wellington Gate community, offers a different and exciting model for education, combining the prospect of continuity from nursery through to GCSE with the extraordinary commitment to a nurturing, inclusive vision that we see in all our Church of England schools.”

Kerry Cottrell, Head of School, added “It is great to stand in our beautiful school that has steadily grown and come alive with learning and laughter. The journey to this moment has been nothing short of extraordinary and is down to our exceptional team, our amazing children and families, and our supportive community.”

Rick Holroyd, Executive Headteacher of St John’s CE Academy, said “When St John’s CE secondary site is built, we will be a single school with a common vision and values, and this is already central to our planning.

We intend to develop a school with the aspiration for every individual to grow in wisdom and character, to flourish in our vibrant community, to fly beyond expectations, whilst living ‘life in all its fullness”.

Daughters of the late Stanley Hall (Lynda Culley and Nicky Frost) after whom Stanley Hall Road (the address of the school) is named were also invited guests.

Mr Hall was very much a pillar of the community and a committed Christian, dedicating much of his time to running youth activities locally.

The Vale Academy Trust would like to acknowledge the kind donation from Persimmon Homes, who funded the commission of the commemorative sculpture by local sculptor Sharon Rich.