Pupils at the newly opened St. Edburg’s Church of England Primary School at Kingsmere in Bicester were paid a visit by health and safety professionals from Countryside to help them stay safe as they travel to and from their brand new school, with construction continuing across the development.

Countryside Properties (Bicester) Limited is delivering the new village community on the northern edge of the town, where residents are already enjoying an abundance of open space, a network of footpaths and fantastic transport connections. Sports facilities and a brand new neighbourhood centre at the heart of the village are also planned for the Kingsmere community.

Scott Young, Senior Project Manager at Kingsmere, and Michelle Shani, Head of Health and Safety, at Countryside visited the pupils just before the school opened, to explain more about the construction works on-site, and most importantly, how to stay safe when travelling to and from school.

Michelle Shani commented: “The location of the school is at the heart of the Kinsgmere development, just next to the main access road and it is used on a daily basis by construction vehicles. Health and safety is paramount when you have residents and people using the site during construction, and we wanted to make sure the children were familiar with the hazards, and understood how to keep themselves and their fellow pupils’ safe over the coming months.

“The children responded well to our visit, and already seemed very aware of the potential hazards. We will be visiting the school again soon to speak to the younger age groups and make sure they understand how to stay safe too.”

Head Teacher at St Edburg’s, Margaret Kunzer, added: “The children and staff are all very excited to be in the new school – it’s a great start to the new term. We are grateful to Countryside for coming to talk to our children and make them aware of the surrounding environment, and teach them about site safety.  We are all excited to see the the Kingsmere community build up around the school and look forward to welcoming new generations of children through the doors of St Edburg’s, many of which will be Kinsgmere residents.”

St Edburg’s, the oldest and only Church of England school in Bicester, is the first of two primary schools to open at Kingsmere, having relocated from the town centre and doubled in size. The new state-of-the-art premises includes outdoor learning spaces, a multi-use games area, sports pitches, sensory garden and a nursery play area, making it a great opting for new families moving into Kingsmere.

Health & Safety briefing for Key Stage 2 children by Countryside Properties - St EdburgÕs C of E School - Bicester - 15/12/15 Pupils, Thomas, Kacey, Catherine, Alfie and Jake pictured with Michelle Shani and Scott Young along with Head Teachr Margarette Kunzer

The development of the school was jointly-funded by Countryside, Oxfordshire County Council and the Diocese of Oxford, which governs the school, with the land for the site provided by Countryside.

Plans for the new secondary school are subject to public consultation by the County Council to determine the nature of the educational facility to be provided at Kingsmere. The secondary school will use the planned new Sports Village facilities which will include sports pitches, a running track and changing pavilion.

With Bicester now one of the fastest-growing towns in Oxfordshire, Kingsmere has helped establish a thriving new community on the south western edge of Bicester.  Up to 2,450 high quality new homes are being developed, alongside a wide range of amenities including a new secondary and two new primary schools, and two major recreational areas with sports facilities.  A hotel and restaurant have already been opened, and over 570 households are already enjoying the new development.

Frequent bus services now run throughout Kingsmere providing a direct connection to Bicester and Oxford city centre and the railways stations. As part of the scheme, Countryside Properties (Bicester) Ltd is also contributing major investment toward infrastructure improvements in and around Bicester including public transport, education, library services and highway improvements. The new Park and Ride service, which offers a direct route into the centre of town, opened in November.