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Politicians pick up paintbrushes as school classrooms get a new look 21 October 2008

Staff of a primary school will be picking up their paintbrushes over the half-term holidays next week to give a bright new look to the rooms used by reception class pupils.

Headteacher Adrian Shorthouse and staff at Scoill Vallajeelt, Braddan, will be joined by parents and by Douglas South MHK Bill Malarkey and his wife Carol, a Douglas Councillor.

They will spend the week putting the finishing touches to a refurbishment that will see the reception classrooms fitted out with new equipment, furniture and flooring. It is the latest in a series of community initiatives that are benefiting the school’s 235 pupils.

‘Involvement of all members of our school community is vital to the continuing success of Scoill Vallajeelt,’ said Mr Shorthouse. ‘We are constantly looking at meaningful ways in which we can bring our community together to help us provide an excellent foundation for every child's future success.’ Mr Shorthouse explained:
‘With the help of the community, the school is in the process of re-designing and refurbishing the reception classrooms. Investment in new learning resources, furniture and flooring, will give the reception children an exciting, purposeful and well-equipped learning environment. To support this initiative, parents and other members of our community including MHK Bill Malarkey and Councillor Carol Malarkey, will be joining us during the half-term holidays to repaint the reception classrooms.’

A successful application for a community grant of £500 from DIY giant B&Q has also enabled the development of facilities for 4 and 5-year-old children.

‘Children in our reception classes will now enjoy a well-resourced and vibrant outside environment to play and learn in. We are very grateful for B&Q’s support,’ said Mr Shorthouse.

In another initiative, Scoill Vallajeelt is extending access to the school library to encourage more pupils to read for pleasure. Pupils can now drop in with their parents after school to share a book or choose books and other resources to take home.

A new creative area has also been created outside the Year 2 classrooms using money raised by parents from the recent Friends of Vallajeelt sponsored skipping event. Mr Shorthouse said:

‘We pride ourselves on creating an atmosphere where every member of the school is safe, feels a sense of belonging and cares for each other. It is a place where learning is at the heart of everything we do and where both children and the rest of our learning community strive to work and learn together. We are committed to give children the best start to their education. This investment from our community will help facilitate greater child-initiated learning.’

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