The first day of school is a big moment in any child’s life.
But for the 58 youngsters starting at the newly opened £5m Gateway Academy, in South Shore, yesterday was extra special.
The four and five-year-olds are part of the first intake at the brand new school and are already enjoying making use of its high-tech facilities.
As well as the more conventional pens, pencils and workbooks, these reception pupils have access to iPads and even an interactive tabletop computer.
Staff at the school were just as amazed by the learning facilities on offer at the specially designed building, on Seymour Road.
Head of school Kelly Shaw said: “We have been involved in the design of the building from the beginning and to see it come from just a plan to seeing the first group of children is absolutely fantastic.
“We are all so very proud of what we have achieved.”
The design process saw staff able to use their experience at Gateway Academy’s sister site, Westcliff Primary School in Bispham, and have their say on how the new building should look.
Mrs Shaw said the result was a school that really takes into consideration the needs of young pupils.
She added: “The staff have been in for most of the summer making sure the school is all ready for and set for the children.
“A lot of work has gone into it – it’s a real sense of achievement.
“It has been great because we have been able to take the best bits of our site at Westcliff and really take a wish list here and put it into place for the children.”
And the pupils certainly seemed impressed on their first day in the new surroundings.
Milli-Lou Rose, four, was all smiles as she got to know her new school.
She said: “I like the home corner – it’s good and it has got dressing up.”
The activity corner was well received by the children, as was the cake served at lunch time.
Sam Brown, four, was particularly impressed by the interactive table-top computer and said he enjoyed “drawing on the table”.
Reception teacher Hayley Duckworth said she was amazed by the facilities the school had been able to provide for the pupils.
She said: “It’s fantastic – it was designed exactly for the children.
“Everything is their height and at their level.
And she was impressed by how easily the children adapted to the wide range of technology in the classroom.
Miss Duckworth added: “It’s quite overwhelming. I think the children know how to use it more than me.”
The school will open new classrooms and take on more children each year, reaching its capacity of 420 pupils and 60 staff by 2020.