An Isle of Man school has been officially reopened after a £4.5m project to transform its aging and cramped facilities into a learning environment fit for the 21st century.
The total revamp at St Mary's has seen additional classrooms created, the hall extended, and lifts installed to make the split-level site fully accessible for the first time.
Before it was near impossible for some disabled children to navigate the maze of stairs, the hall was too small for most activities and some classes used outdated mobile classrooms.
Headteacher Donna Martin, said:
'Children are at the heart of everything we do at St Mary’s and it is fantastic that they can now be taught in such a high quality and inclusive learning environment – it is truly fit for the 21st century.'
'The improvements enable staff and pupils to work in a more creative and collaborative way and we are proud to be able to use them daily for the benefit of all our pupils and staff.'
Other improvements to the 1960s building include a designated library area, outdoor activity classrooms, a refurbished kitchen and new disabled toilets.
The three-year project has also seen a new roof, external cladding and windows installed to improve energy efficiency, parking improved, and existing classrooms, toilets and corridors all refurbished.
A Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) spokesperson, said:
'The major investment has transformed once inadequate facilities into a bright and modern learning and teaching environment that will help generations of young people to flourish.'
The Roman Catholic school on Somerset Road in Douglas can now accommodate up to 350 children although 235 are enrolled this year.
The school is under the trusteeship of the Archdiocese of Liverpool but is maintained by the DESC and earlier this year changed its policy, in line with the Archdiocese, to welcome children of different faiths, or no faith, for the first time.
The Right Reverend Thomas Neylon, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, who attended the opening, said:
'The redevelopment will provide incredible benefits for both pupils and staff to develop in their studies and faith. The increase in capacity at the school is a positive step forward for education on the Isle of Man, particularly for those of Catholic faith.'