A HAT-TRICK of special sports guests helped to officially unveil a £28 million school in Sheffield which ‘brings together the community’.
Forge Valley Community School in Stannington held an open day yesterday packed with activities.
Baroness Sue Campbell opened the modern site, which welcomed students from last September, by cutting the red ribbon in front of hundreds of parents, pupils and staff.
Guests from Uganda - where the Kibuli Sec School is twinned with Forge Valley - had also flown in.
They packed into the Wood Lane school’s modern atrium for the special ceremony.
Baroness Campbell, chairman of UK Sport and the Youth Sport Trust, told the crowds: “It is a great pleasure to be here and all I can say is ‘Wow’!
“This is not like any school I have ever been to.
“It is fantastic. I’m sure one of the things you notice when you come in here is how light and airy and business-like it is.”
She later added: “This is not just a school for young people, it is a school for the community.
“It’s a school to bring together everyone that lives in the community.”
Other special guests were John Mills, from British Cycling, who opened an innovative new cycling track at the school where it is hoped ‘future Olympians’ could be discovered.
Great Britain hockey player Charlotte Hartley and Martin Donnelly, permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, also gave guest lectures.
Headteacher Diane McKinlay wiped away tears after Baroness Campbell praised the school’s leadership and students presented her with a hand cast.
A ‘Forge Valley fanfare’ and song composed by students were also played during the ceremony.
Mrs McKinlay told The Star the community was already using facilities like its enterprise zone.
She added: “I’m feeling delighted, excited, it’s been a lovely day.
“I think today has shown the school is a really dynamic and lovely place.
“It has marked the end of our first year here and the start of a really bright future for us.
“I think Forge Valley will achieve great things because the parents, community, students and staff are all pulling together to make it a really special place.”
Youngsters tried out the cycle track yesterday as ‘learning showcases’ highlighted the school’s learning - from a biomass boiler to trampolining.
Building Schools for the Future funding paid for the new school.