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Construction of new Grace Cook Primary School in Chilton Leys, Stowmarket, begins, with name honouring pioneering astronomer




Construction of a new primary and pre-school which will eventually accommodate 270 students and has been named after a pioneering British astronomer has begun.

The Grace Cook Primary School, which is being built in Chilton Leys, Stowmarket, is set to welcome its first students next September.

Suffolk County Council received planning permission for the new school in April and the early building stages are now under way.

In the centre, Father Paul Carter, chairman of the Orwell Multi-Academy Trust board, Anna Hennell James, CEO of Orwell Multi-Academy Trust and Neil Eaton, project officer for Suffolk County Council. All pictures: Matthew Power.
In the centre, Father Paul Carter, chairman of the Orwell Multi-Academy Trust board, Anna Hennell James, CEO of Orwell Multi-Academy Trust and Neil Eaton, project officer for Suffolk County Council. All pictures: Matthew Power.

Anna Hennell James, CEO of Orwell Multi-Academy Trust (OMAT), who are responsible for the school, said: “This is a very exciting day as work is progressing on the building for Grace Cook Primary School.

“We are looking forward to watching the building develop and preparing it for opening, ready to welcome our first pupils in September 2022.”

From the early stages, OMAT have involved the surrounding community in making key decisions about various aspects of the school, including what the uniform should be, and the name.

An aerial shot of the new school under construction.
An aerial shot of the new school under construction.

And after a recent consultation, it was decided it be named after Alice Grace Cook, known as Grace Cook, a pioneering British astronomer from Stowmarket. The suggestion received strong support from the community, town council and Royal Astronomical Society.

Councillor Penny Otton, Liberal Democrat councillor for Thedwastre South, at Suffolk County Council, said: “To name it after Grace Cook is an excellent example of celebrating one of Suffolk and Stowmarket’s women who may not be as well known as she should be.”

The construction of the school is being funded through Suffolk County Council’s capital programme and designed and project managed by Concertus Design and Property Consultants.

Emilie Farrimond, senior project manager at Concertus, said: “The new Grace Cook Primary and Pre-School will provide a modern, fit for purpose learning environment for local children, as well as helping to ease pressure on local schools due to the expansion of housing in the area.”

The new school is set to open next September.
The new school is set to open next September.

The Grace Cook school is one of two being built by Concertus in Suffolk.

Another new primary school is to be built in Thurston and is due to open next month.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Stowmarket