Hambledon Nursery School will be a warmer place this winter, thanks to new windows in its two classrooms.
The nursery, formerly the village primary school, dates back to Victorian times and is a listed building. Its original wooden-framed windows were in an advance state of decay but the school had to replace like-for-like to comply with planning regulations – a costly business.
Thanks to a £4,000 grant from the Hall Hunter Foundation – a trust set up by the owners of nearby Tuesley Fruit Farm – and a dip into the nursery school’s reserves, the money has been found to pay for the work, which was carried out over the summer holiday.
Nicola Collett, head teacher, said: “We are delighted with the Hall Hunter grant and very grateful. It enabled us to give the go-ahead for the work and we now have new windows on the southern elevation of the classrooms which were the ones in most urgent need of replacement.”
“They are structured to the original design with wooden frames but are double-glazed. I am actually looking forward to winter this year because the staff and children will be nice and warm and nestled in the classrooms with no drafts to contend with.”
She added: “I suppose the saddest part of the project was actually watching the old windows come out. But remarkably the Hopper style openers and some of the frames have been donated to The Brooking National Architectural Museum in Cranleigh, because they were of significant architectural interest.”
“The next phase will be along the Eastern side of the building restoring and replacing the old original stone bay window. The final phase will be to replace the old Crittall windows in the flat roof extension.”
Audrey Monk, of Hambledon Heritage Society, is assisting the school in looking for other trusts and grant-awarding organisations that may be able to assist financially with additional work.
Although the school is run as a business it is a registered charity administered by locally-appointed trustees. Maintenance and repairs to the Victorian building have been a major financial concern in recent years as wooden floors and the tiled roof have needed major re-furbishing.
Fortunately the school has managed to meet these challenges while maintaining a high-standard of teaching and welfare for its children. The school has an “outstanding” rating by Ofsted, the Government’s watchdog for education.
The village school closed in the 1980s. It reopened as a nursery school following a community-led initiative which led to its purchase and reopening catering for children aged two to five.
If you would like more information on the Hall Hunter Foundation please use the following link: https://www.hallhunter.co.uk/foundation.aspx