Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney has officially opened the new nursery at The Buchan School in Castletown.
The sun shone throughout an uplifting occasion as His Excellency met senior staff and pupils, including Head of Nursery Caroline Kipps Reid, The Buchan School Head Janet Billingsley-Evans and the Principal of King William’s College, Joss Buchanan, before receiving a tour of the facilities, which are set in 13 acres of grounds.
He was greeted by Chairman of Governors, Peter Clucas, before being welcomed by The Buchan School choir under the baton of Head of Music, Jenni Garrett.
Since 1st September, The Buchan School has operated its own in-house nursery provision alongside an extra-curricular programme designed to educate young people in a nurturing and inviting environment.
Mr Clucas said:
‘This is a happy occasion for all involved and a further milestone for The Buchan which has a long-held association with kindergarten and pre-school provision in the Isle of Man. Bringing the nursery back into the fold and operation of The Buchan and King William’s College is important in two ways.
‘Firstly, as part of a wider school community, the nursery will benefit from the resources and expertise across all our leadership teams and staff and it will allow our ethos to be integrated fully into The Buchan Nursery.
Secondly, it extends the choice now available for the parents of children from the age of two upwards who are looking for the full educational offering we provide as one school, two sites.”
Mr Clucas acknowledged that
‘An enormous amount of hard work and goodwill has got us to this stage and the fact we are already near capacity is a great vote of confidence for The Buchan Nursery.’
The nursery, which also offers swimming, yoga, French, Drama and Music, is a further addition to the school’s wider curriculum, which currently includes breakfast and after-school clubs, a holiday club and a dedicated minibus service, providing additional convenience for the working parent.
Music played a key role in the opening as children in the ‘Sunflowers’ nursery group (aged three and four) performed three songs with gusto, while Sir Richard delighted the assembled guests by reciting the AA Milne poem ‘Now we are Six’ before reflecting on the ‘progressive’ nature of the school’s nursery and the ‘spirit’ of its predecessors.
Sir Richard noted that the first Buchan nursery was established in 1895 and was very much at the forefront of girls’ education in the British Isles, let alone the Isle of Man. Among the school’s early innovations was the introduction of hockey before it was introduced in girls’ schools in the UK.
Mr Clucas thanked staff, parents who enrolled the children and school governors, a number of whom attended including Elaine Higgins, who helped drive the project.
Also attending the short ceremony were former teachers Betty Charnley, who began teaching at the nursery in 1965 when there was ‘just one room and about 10 children’, and Ann Ashton, herself a teacher at the Buchan from the mid-1970s until she retired in 2000.
As guests reminisced during the tour, before refreshments were served in the nursery’s Garden Room, Head of The Buchan Janet Billingsley-Evans spoke about how The Buchan’s early education provision ensured every pupil had the opportunity to be the best they could from toddler right through to 18 years-old.
‘This is about their future and ensuring children benefit from an integrated curriculum and inclusive approach, as well as greater coordination with the school.’
Nursery Head Caroline Kipps Reid, a former pupil of King William’s College, added:
‘I could not be prouder. This is a real team effort, ensuring our children are the focus of everything we do and where they can enjoy and utilise the fantastic resources of our purpose-built nursery.’
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