GLF Schools

Official opening at Merstham Park School

Blog Header Image 20/09/2022

The red carpet was rolled out to welcome guests as Merstham Park School - part of GLF Schools - opened the doors to its new ‘state-of-the-art’ home.

The school's students now have a custom-built new premises, after spending four years in temporary accommodation.

The Mayor, Cllr Frank Kelly, was on hand to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony before students, parents and other visitors from the local community were invited to take a tour – as well as join a treasure hunt to find letters spelling the word ‘Welcome’.

The new buildings were constructed on the site of the former Chart Wood School in Merstham, in a £23.7m project which has seen the creation of state-of-the-art classrooms, a Multi Activity Games Area (MUGA), a dance studio, an all-weather playing field and a fantastic sports hall complete with cricket nets.

Merstham Park first opened its doors in September 2018, starting life with just 83 students, all housed in temporary cabins while the secondary free school’s new premises underwent construction.

The work, which was undertaken by the McAvoy Group, began in June 2021 with the demolition of the existing buildings, while much of the construction took place off-site to minimise disruption to the school and its neighbours, with 178 modules being craned into position over a six-week period.

The sports hall features ‘chameleon cladding’ to minimise its visual impact, while the remaining buildings have a ‘vernacular brick’ finish in keeping with their surroundings, with each featuring roof-mounted solar panelling to provide the school with sustainable electricity.

One of the Department for Education’s Low Carbon Pathfinder projects, Merstham Park School also incorporates measures to minimise CO2 emissions, including thermally-optimised materials, air source heat pumps, rain water harvesting and water-saving systems, and flexible, reusable and recyclable modules.

Nature had a part to play in the design of the new school too, with the developers utilising landscaping and trees to enhance the environment, and incorporating a courtyard with tree-lined ‘sun boundaries’ for students and staff to enjoy during breaks.

At the entrance to the site, there is also a memorial garden to Merstham Park’s founding headteacher, Martin Beard, which features five glass plinths displaying the school’s values, and was designed in conjunction with Mr Beard’s family.

Speeches at the opening ceremony were given by Jon Chaloner, CEO of GLF Schools, Jason Segovia-Hodges from the DfE, ex-Harlequin player Tony Williams, and the Head of Merstham Park School, Andy Ward.

Mr Ward said: “The opening of our new, state-of-the-art facilities will benefit both our students and our community as a whole with the new build tailored to enabling our students to develop their unique skills in a truly first-class educational setting.

“At Merstham Park our ethos is simple – igniting a passion for learning. We have a team of passionate staff who are committed to providing our children with the very best educational experience.”

Mr Chaloner added: “We provide our students with the very best resources and support in every aspect of school life, and nowhere is that more visible than in the exceptional new home of Merstham Park School, which has been designed to fully meet the needs of staff, students and the wider community alike, while having a minimal impact on the environment.

“Everyone has been extremely patient over the course of the building project, and we are excited to see the first students and staff move into their outstanding new home at Merstham.”