A school in Grove has been officially opened at an event which saw more than 80 people in attendance.

HM lord-lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Marjorie Neasham Glasgow, unveiled a sculpture commissioned to mark the opening of St John’s CE Primary Academy.

This was funded by Persimmon Homes and crafted by sculptor Sharon Rich, and symbolises the aspirations of the new school and the community it seeks to serve.

thisisoxfordshire: HM Lord-Lieutenant and Bishop Gavin unveil the specially commissioned sculptureHM Lord-Lieutenant and Bishop Gavin unveil the specially commissioned sculpture (Image: Vale Academy Trust)

After the opening speeches, guests enjoyed a tour of the new facilities, concluding with a performance by the reception children.

Beth Taylor, chair of the board of trustees, said: "This is a very happy day for everyone at the Vale Academy Trust.

"It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to mark the opening of St John’s CE Academy with children and teachers, friends and colleagues, as well as our distinguished guests.

"This school, at the heart of the new Wellington Gate community, offers a different and exciting model for education, combining the prospect of continuity from nursery through to GCSE with the extraordinary commitment to a nurturing, inclusive vision that we see in all our Church of England schools."

thisisoxfordshire: St John’s head of school, Kerry Cottrell with Bishop Gavin and HM Lord-Lieutenant, Marjorie GlasgowSt John’s head of school, Kerry Cottrell with Bishop Gavin and HM Lord-Lieutenant, Marjorie Glasgow (Image: Vale Academy Trust)

Officials from Oxfordshire County Council and Grove Parish Council, representatives from the Department for Education, and the mayor of Wantage were among the attendees.

Also in attendance was the county council's cabinet member for children, education and young people, John Howson.

He was joined by county councillors Jenny Hannaby and Jane Hanna, Wantage and Didcot MP David Johnston, as well as the Vale Academy Trust, which partnered with Oxfordshire County Council in delivering the new school.

Kerry Cottrell, the head of school, added: "It is great to stand in our beautiful school that has steadily grown and come alive with learning and laughter.

"The journey to this moment has been nothing short of extraordinary and is down to our exceptional team, our amazing children and families, and our supportive community."

Executive headteacher Rick Holroyd added: "When St John’s CE secondary site is built, we will be a single school with a common vision and values, and this is already central to our planning.

"We intend to develop a school with the aspiration for every individual to grow in wisdom and character, to flourish in our vibrant community, to fly beyond expectations, whilst living ‘life in all its fullness'."

Daughters of the late Stanley Hall, after whom the school's address, Stanley Hall Road, is named, also attended the event.

Mr Hall, a committed Christian, and community stalwart, was fondly remembered for his dedication to youth activities.