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Scientist Dame Kay Davies combined officially opening Avonwood Primary School in Bournemouth with a visit to their new science classrooms. She is pictured (centre) with pupils, headteacher Annie Dowling, Avonbourne Trust CEO Debbie Godfrey-Phaure and dire

School's building blocks for the future

New Bournemouth school is UK's first Earth Charter school

Posted by Stephanie Broad | June 20, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

An eminent scientist has officially opened Bournemouth’s Avonwood Primary and to announce it as the UK’s first ever Earth Charter school.

Geneticist Dame Kay Davies cut the ribbon to the new £8 million Avonwood Primary school building – which includes a purpose-built science laboratory.

And while genetics is the building block of life, Dame Davies – who was at the forefront of identifying the gene that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy - said primary education is the foundation for forming who we are.

Students celebrate at Avonwood Primary

She said: “It was an honour to be invited to open this wonderful school building.

“The facilities are second to none and for primary school aged children to have their own science laboratory is just fantastic.

“If we can get very young children to discover the wonders of science from the outset of their education then we are more likely to nurture the scientists of the future.”

Avonwood Primary was formed in September 2014 to help meet the urgent need for more primary school places in Bournemouth.

Its new building opened in September 2015 and is currently home to 130 four, five and six year-olds and will eventually cater for 658 four to 11 year-olds by 2020.

The school has also become the first UK Earth Charter school – embracing the principles of the Rio-based organisation that promotes tolerance and peace, sustainability and democracy.

CEO of Avonbourne Trust, Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, said: “It was a privilege to welcome Dame Kay Davies and also representatives from the Earth Charter to our newest member of the Trust family.

 “We are very proud that we have a fantastic new building that provides the best start to a child’s education by giving them the very best facilities, such as the science lab.

“And with the Earth Charter principles underpinning everything we do at Avonwood we are also building the foundations that will help every child contribute to a better world.”

Avonwood is one of very few primary schools to have a purpose-built science lab. The new school building also includes a large hall with stage, which is also used as a gym; modern classrooms letting in lots of light, an ICT suite, a library and outdoor learning resources.

Avonwood Primary is part of Avonbourne Trust – home to Avonbourne College (girls 11-16), Harewood College (boys 11-16) and Avonbourne Sixth Form (mixed 16-19). The new building neighbours Avonbourne College on its grounds off Harewood Avenue.

Avonbourne Trust introduced Earth Charter principles to its teaching at Avonbourne and Harewood colleges in 2008, when Bournemouth Borough Council became the first Earth Charter local authority. It has now taken the next step by making Avonwood an official Earth Charter school, the first of its kind in the UK.

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