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Pupils get stuck in with Shaun the Sheep at landmark Cherry Orchard Primary Academy

PUBLISHED: 11:56 13 September 2017

London Resort Company Holdings and partners Aardman Animations visited Cherry Orchard Primary Academy on Tuesday

London Resort Company Holdings and partners Aardman Animations visited Cherry Orchard Primary Academy on Tuesday

JASONDODDPHOTOGRAPHY

The school is the first to open as part of the Ebbsfleet Garden City development

Cherry Orchard Primary Academy pupils with their hand-made Shaun the Sheep models Cherry Orchard Primary Academy pupils with their hand-made Shaun the Sheep models

Pupils at Ebbsfleet Garden City’s first ever primary school got the chance to create their own Shaun the Sheep moulds this week during a visit from Aardman Animations.

The studio behind Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Gromit and Creature Comforts visited Cherry Orchard Primary Academy on Wednesday, as part of its partnership with London Resort Company Holdings, the company behind plans for a theme park on the Swanscombe Peninsula.

Most of the school, built on the Castle Hill development, is sitting empty, with classes only running for Reception, Year one and Year two pupils until the next cohort joins in September 2018, by which time the completed upstairs classroom will open up to year three students.

Year one teacher Emma Featherstone has lived on Castle Hill for nearly two years, she said: “The children have settled in really well considering they’ve all come from different schools either nearby or further afield where families have just moved to the area.

Cherry Orchard Primary Academy in Castle Hill is the first school to open as part of the Ebbsfleet Garden City development Cherry Orchard Primary Academy in Castle Hill is the first school to open as part of the Ebbsfleet Garden City development

“I always knew the school was on the horizon so it was a perfect move for me.”

Last month plans for 250 homes and a village centre were approved for Castle Hill and building work is still going on around the school site, which opened last week.

Principal Julie Forsythe said: “The first day was really hectic with lots of builders around, but we’ve managed to move on and make sure work takes place while children are in class, after school or over the weekend.

“Right now the school is really the focal point of the community, when you drive down here there’s not much else, we held our first parent coffee morning on Monday which we’re going to do weekly, because there isn’t anywhere else for parents and residents to meet up, so we thought we would open the school up to link up members of the community and stop them from being isolated.”

Paul Spooner, interim chief executive of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, called the school’s opening a “milestone”, adding, “now we are seeing facilities like this open, the garden city is firmly establishing itself as the number one area to live and work.”

LRCH visited four schools this week together with Aardman as it prepares to launch a consultation and submit its planning application for early next year.

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