Highgate Primary School to convert old nursery into community centre
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Highgate Primary School is turning its former nursery classroom into a community centre.
The school moved its nursery to Gaskell Road in September and now plans to repurpose the facility as an activities hub.
It hopes to open it in September, then develop it over the following year, with an entrance on the corner of Storey Road and North Hill.
The school has applied to the National Lottery for a grant, which it would use alongside donations and other funding for the works, which do not require planning permission.
The centre will be used mainly to host courses, classes and drop-ins for families with young children, but also for after-school sessions, and by community organisations such as resident associations, the allotments society and wellbeing groups.
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Highgate Primary headteacher William Dean said: “It’s a really good opportunity for children to be introduced to the school before they start, so there aren't those issues around transition.
"This will mean the school is a place that's familiar, a place that they know and love so that when they start either nursery or reception, it’s just continuing that journey.”
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The head added: “I think as a school we've got a good understanding of our place within the community and we have within our values that community is very important, that we are here for our community.
“We feel we're a supportive school and we want to start that dialogue when families and children are at their most vulnerable, which is right in the first few weeks.
“There's a lot of research about the importance of the first 100 days, and indeed the first couple of years, so if there is a space that families with their babies and toddlers can come along to, it's hugely valuable to the families to feel connected in the community.”
In other school activities, Highgate primary is publishing a cookbook to commemorate its former chef Michael Batoux, who died last summer.
The cookbook will include a variety of Michael’s vegetarian, vegan, meat and fish recipes.
The project will mark the chef’s “extraordinary passion” for food and his “inspirational work” in Highgate, with profits helping provide cookery classes at the school.
Photos will include the school’s egg and spoon race on May 21. The initiative is being supported by photographers Adam T Adamis and Matthew Hague, and stylist Jemima Hetherington.
To donate to the cookbook fundraiser visit https://www.highgateprimaryschool.co.uk/support-us/make-a-donation