AND the winner of the Echo’s School Build challenge is... Dorchester Learning Centre For months schools have been building up to the competition, submitting their entries of how they would make over their outdoor areas – and now the Echo can reveal the winners.

Construction company Leadbitter, which is undertaking £35 million of work in Dorchester including the Brewery Square development and the new Thomas Hardye Leisure Centre, have promised £6,000 worth of makeover work to three schools.

The winning entry will get £3,000 worth with runners-up receiving £2,000 and £1,000.

Schools, parents, teachers, friends, students and the local communities have been busily saving tokens that were printed in the Echo. Thousands of vouchers were sent to the Echo and each school’s score was worked out on how many vouchers they collected per head of pupils.

The winning school is Dorchester Learning Centre. The £3,000 will be used to transform their old broken ropes course into a place which children, including those excluded from mainstream school and traveller families, will be able to use and enjoy.

Teacher Lorraine Greenham said that everyone at the centre was over the moon. She added: “It’s amazing. You have no idea what it means to us all. The students are so excited because they know they were involved in collecting the vouchers.

“They have been absolute stars.

“They have nothing for physical activity at the centre and this will mean so much. It will give them a physical challenge – it can be used for fun and activity and team building.”

The centre collected as many vouchers as they could then Mrs Greenham set up a raffle and a cake stall and charged children 20p a cake. All the proceeds went towards buying more Echos to get the vouchers.

Mrs Greenham said: “It means so much because we pulled out all the stops.”

In second place, winning a £2,000 make over to create an all weather path to their pond area is Southill Primary School in Weymouth.

Teaching assistant Helen Hazel said that the children had done a fantastic job in getting tokens for the competition. Some pupils even put leaflets in the Echo when they were delivering on paper rounds, asking the community to help.

Mrs Hazell said: “We are so excited, the children are so happy. It’s really exciting – it’s such an achievement.”

She added: “One reason the children put so much effort in is because all the children had an input with the outdoor learning area, so they feel a little bit of ownership for it. They are so pleased.”

The third prize winner of a £1,000 makeover for musical instruments in their school garden is Greenford Primary School in Maiden Newton.

Headteacher Franz Atkinson said: “We’re really pleased and surprised. Being a small school we didn’t think we had a chance.

“It will just be really lovely for the children to be able to play music outside. It’s very exciting.”