ONE of Bolton’s top performing schools has unveiled its new 21st century building.

Scared Heart RC Primary School in Westhoughton, which has a history stretching back to 1879, has undergone a multi-million pound transformation.

The Bishop of Salford, Terence John Brain, was invited to bless the new-look school at a special “opening” ceremony.

Headteacher Martin Johnson said: “To meet the needs of a 21st century curriculum, and additional pupil numbers, our school has been totally rebuilt over two phases.

“The building has been built around us — and everyone has worked over and beyond to ensure no disruption to learning despite the noise, dust and moving around in cramped circumstances as sections of the building were closed off, and new parts opened.

“We also thank our neighbours, who have not only put up with additional volume of traffic, but also a lengthy building programme.”

The £3 million transformation includes the replacement of the reception/key stage one block, with phase two replacing the key stage two and office blocks.

There is also a revamped and bigger hall.

The outdoor space has been transformed to include canopies, allotments, fire-pit, workshop, habitats and a space for a “city farm”, with sheep, chickens, turkey, rabbits, guinea pigs, school cat, tropical fish, giant African snails and bearded dragon.

Mr Johnson said: “Our school is growing — and the space we now have inside allows us to develop our computing provision and technology, with 15 new classroom areas, libraries, a new media hub with raspberry pi computers and praise pod, media suite, film studio and radio station.

“Our pupil chaplain team have a chapel, and the spacious classrooms are matched with large breakout areas.

“We have a new admin wing with offices, staff room and impressive entrance area and meeting room.

“Outdoor learning, to develop communication, challenge and create rounded learners is important to our school.”

He added: “Our staff, community, children and families deserve this updated space in which to grow and innovate.”

The school will be taking on 11 teacher trainees next year and the studio hall space will be used for lectures when not in use by the children.

Mr Johnson said: “It was great that Bishop Brain was able to bless our school “The day was a special 'historic' moment for our school family — and we were delighted that the whole school gathered together so we could welcome back past members of staff, parishioners, governors, our priest Father Richard Aspden, two past parish priests Father Patrick Quinlan and Father Michael Johonnett, diocese and local authority officers, neighbours, parents and friends from other schools.

“Our architect, Paul Flood, from Greenhalgh and Williams, and the building teams were also represented.

“Paul has been fantastic in helping make sure we had exactly what we needed to thrive as a school.

“We are delighted with our new school building, and the opportunities it will give us to continue to innovate and develop.”

The Bishop wrote on “wall” of Year Six: “This school is brill! Because they look after each other.

“All are peacemakers.”