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Provost holds the key as Lockhart officially opens

Posted on 27 Jan 2023

Music and celebration was very much order of the day as Lockhart Campus was finally ‘officially’ opened.

North Ayrshire’s new Additional Support Needs School opened its doors in August 2021 but Covid-19 robbed its community of the chance of celebrating at that time.

But the young people, supported by staff, made up for that today with a music-filled afternoon for invited guests.

North Ayrshire Provost Anthea Dickson had the honour of unveiling the plaque, cutting the cake and more poignantly using a ‘key’ designed and made by the pupils to unlock Lockhart and officially declare the school open.

Provost Dickson said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have the honour of officially opening this wonderful school. It’s been a marvellous day and so heart-warming to see the young people performing – they have been wonderful and so inspiring.

 “It’s so clear that they are flourishing in their new school and there is a real bond between them and staff. I am sure they will continue to thrive on their journey through the school.”

 Wendy Fenton, Lockhart Head Teacher, added: “I couldn’t be prouder of the young people and staff today as we celebrate the opening of Lockhart Campus.

 “We have come a long way since we first opened our doors. There have been a few bumps along the way but we are now settled and enjoying our new surroundings and making the most of this wonderful learning environment.

 “It was obviously a massive change for the young people but they have adapted so well. It was great for them to be such an integral and important part of today’s official opening.”

The £20m school – situated in Stevenston next to Auchenharvie Academy –replaced James McFarlane, Haysholm, Stanecastle and James Reid Schools.

The architecturally striking campus, which features a ribbon effect roof, offers a range of classroom settings as well as a swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms, and a soft-play area - all providing an educational experience to children with a diverse range of additional support needs.

The school also incorporates enhanced outdoor learning spaces including an outdoor rebound area and external classrooms.

Health and social care colleagues also have access to the facilities to enable them to deliver first-aid, therapy and other treatments.

Some of the young pupils created a key made from wicker to present to the Provost – which she used to symbolise the opening of the school.

After a meet and greet at the entrance to school, and the ‘unlocking’ of Lockhart, guests were taken to the gym hall to be treated to wonderful musical performances from the choir and solo performances from Chelsea Imrie and Natasha McKiernon.

Councillor Shaun Macaulay, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “This is a wonderful facility, and it was great that the young people got to show it off today.

“You can tell that the young people feel safe, secure and loved in their new school and that’s a huge credit to all the staff.”

 Contractors Morrison Construction first started work on the project in late 2019 and overcame the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure the facility was ready for August 2021.