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Pupils return to hi-tech school as £200,000 upgrade ends
A £200,000 REFURBISHMENT of Abingdon’s John Mason School has been completed in time for pupils returning to classes today.
The school in Wootton Road has redeveloped its sixth form centre and food technology rooms, as well as upgrading its internet facilities over the summer holidays.
The new facilities were opened yesterday by deputy mayor of Abingdon Angela Lawrence, ahead of all 890 students getting back to school this week. Some pupils return today while others start the new academic year tomorrow.
Headteacher Di Mashiter said: “Our sixth formers now have the facilities to study in a way that will prepare them even more effectively for further education and the world of work.
“With our exciting plans for and investment in IT, we will have the technology and new resources to help support and enhance all students’ learning.”
The 128 sixth form students now have a new study room, kitchen, resource library and common room with wi-fi so they can use the internet on their own phones, tablets and computers.
Year 12 student Katie Brooks, 16, said: “It’s been a great to see friends getting their GCSE grades and starting sixth form together. 0The new rooms make a really good place to get together and study.”
The sixth form centre’s resource library now holds more specialised textbooks and advice on further education, so students can decide what they want to do after school. The food technology room has had a complete refit – including its units, ovens, sink and hobs.
The updated internet network and hardware is to help launch a new GCSE and A-level computer science course, beginning this month.
Every student will have access to their own online virtual learning system – a personalised web-based system which gives computer access to class resources, grades and school information. The redevelopment is the first phase of a two-year project, and the school aims to improve ICT facilities across the whole site. The first stage was funded by the school’s Oxfordshire County Council allocation budget from the Government.
Mrs Lawrence said: “My own children were at John Mason School many years ago and both my boys are excellent cooks.
“The facilities have been brought up to the 21st century, so they will turn out to be the Jamie Olivers of the future.
“Also the sixth form block is very exciting – the right sort of atmosphere really matters in the sixth form and the environment gets them ready for whatever they go on to do in life.”
Vice-chairman of governors at John Mason School, Jonathan Hopkins, said: “Our ambition is to become an outstanding school and this will equip us and our students for that. We are moving forward to make sure we are at pace and ahead of the game.”
The last Ofsted report rated John Mason School good in November 2011.
Deputy headteacher Valerie Munro said: “We have some very creative and forward thinking staff and students here at John Mason.
"Now they will have the technology and the resources to help support their ideas and enhance their learning.”
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