EAGER pupils laid the first bricks of their new £3.7m school building in Puddletown.

Work has begun on the project which will see pupils and staff of Puddletown First School relocate to a new site in the High Street.

The school is currently housed in a Grade II listed Victorian building and temporary mobile classrooms in the centre of the Dorchester village.

Headteacher Daniel Hunwick said: “The pupils and staff are very excited to see work start on our new school building.

“It will not only provide more classroom space for children to develop and learn, but a larger outdoor area which we have not had the opportunity to enjoy at our current location in the village.”

Youngsters Bailey, four, and Jack, nine, were chosen to lay the first bricks as the youngest and oldest pupils.

Mr Hunwick added: “It meant a lot that two of the pupils laid the first bricks. The pupils will follow the whole building process and will hopefully learn a lot from it.

“It has been a long journey but we will be glad to see the school move into the 21st century.”

The new single storey building will serve 150 pupils, aged from four to nine, from the village and surrounding areas. It will also include a pre-school space to serve 30 pupils aged from two to four.

Pupils and teachers were joined by members of Dorset County Council, Puddletown Parish Council and staff from Poole-based construction company Morgan Sindall for a bricklaying ceremony.

Paul Gale, area director for Morgan Sindall, said: “Although Puddletown is a relatively small village, it does have a busy and populous first school, one which is in need of enlarging. The new school building, although contemporary in design, will sit comfortably with the aesthetics of the surrounding village.

Toni Coombs, of Dorset County Council’s children’s services, said: “I’m delighted that this school, which is the council’s highest priority for rebuilding, is now becoming a reality.”

The new Puddletown First School building is due for completion in autumn 2013.

Pupils Voice Their Views

THE youngest and the oldest pupil helped lay the first bricks of their new school building.

Jack, nine, above, said: “I really liked laying the first bricks with Bailey, it was really fun and I can’t wait to see the new building.”

Bailey, four, below, said: “I got to lay the first bricks because I’m the youngest. It was a lot of fun and all of my friends got to come and watch.”