New Piggott School sixth form block opened by ParalympianBy Jon Nurse
May 11, 2012
A new block at a secondary school had an inspirational launch headed by a Paralympian.
The £1.2 million sixth form block at the Piggott School in Twyford Road, Wargrave, was officially opened last Wednesday by Paralympian Tim Prendergast.
The two-storey building is home to eight classrooms, and large open study areas with 75 computers.
Head of sixth form Andre Dusterhoft said: “I’m extremely happy to see the transition from the facilities that we used to have to the facilities we have now. It’s almost the transition between a school and a university. We have been to a number of universities on open days and it’s somewhere close to those standards.”
Year 13’s Emma Duffield said the block was spacious and easier to work in, while Year 13’s Rosie Povey said it felt good to be separate from the main school.
The school’s old sixth form provision, built in the 1970s, was able to hold 75 pupils. The sixth form has grown to accommodate 298 pupils this year.
Sixth form administrator Taniya Fish said: “Buildings like this take a lot of planning and fundraising. We are very lucky. The building is absolutely magnificent. They’ve settled in like ducks to water, which is good, and they’ll be using the facilities very soon to revise for exams.”
Staff say 95 per cent of student responses to the new building have been positive, with many already staying on after school to use the computers.
The block was opened by New Zealand Paralympian Mr Prendergast, who gave a talk in a school assembly earlier in the day.
Mrs Fish said: “His timing was perfect, he captivated the whole audience and he was a privilege to listen to. He talked about his journey and then got them to focus on their journey. He explained his tragedy as a parable to not be defeated.”
The athlete began to lose his vision aged eight, and lost 90 per cent of his vision in five years.
He finished just outside the medals in the 1,500m and 5,000m events at the Beijing Paralympics and is aiming to win gold in the 1,500m event in London this summer.
“I can’t think of any way to have bettered the day,” Mr Dusterhoft said. “The talk was very relevant, with a great message for everyone.”
Work has come together quickly for the building, with plans approved by the borough council in September.Building started in November and the block was finished and ready for use by Easter.
Money has come together through astute budgeting, combined with fundraising efforts. Past and present students and staff bought a brick to help fund the project, and the Polehampton Association provided funds for the furnishings.