Innovative dome brings classroom fun outdoors for Littlehampton pupils

A little slice of Eden is helping to inspire schoolchildren in Littlehampton onto bigger and better things.

Pupils at the River Beach Primary School, in York Road, have been stunned by the latest building to grace the recently-opened site.

River Beach has become the first school in West Sussex to acquire a Solar Dome and on Monday (November 12) town mayor, Emma Neno – whose two young children go to the school – cut a ceremonial ribbon to officially declare the striking structure open.

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The £50,000 installation, which resembles the futuristic glass domes of the Eden Project, in Cornwall, is the first of four to be built in the county.

It’s hoped the innovative space, filled with potted plants and artificial turf flooring, will become an essential learning facility beyond the classrooms.

Judy Grevett, head teacher, said: “This is a brilliant resource that the whole school can use. We’re very proud to have it.

“The children were involved from day one when we initially put in our bid for the Solar Dome. They were incredibly enthusiastic.

“I think they have been left stunned by the finished result. It really is remarkable.”

The school had applied for funding from the Gilmour-Colquhoun Trust, earlier this year.

The charity, which has also helped fund the three other domes in the county, including one at East Preston Infant School, agreed to pay for the construction of the 8m-wide building.

Peter Clarke, chairman of the trust, attended Monday’s opening ceremony, at which talented members of the school’s choir performed inside the dome.

He said: “The bid from River Beach was very enthusiastic. We were impressed with the diverse range of plans and ideas about how pupils can use the Solar Dome.”

He added: “Our aim is to enhance the education of all those we help. Learning outdoors is just one of those ways that we can do this. It’s fun and I know the staff and pupils are very excited to use the new dome.”

Choir member, Luke Harrison, 10, said he was looking forward to rehearsing inside the Solar Dome.

“It’s got a different sound to it. It really makes your singing sound a lot better.”

The development was constructed by Southampton-based firm Solar Dome. The company’s sales manager Samantha Bradley said: “It’s like a mini-Eden at school that the pupils can take control of.”