THERE is no easy time to be tasked with opening a brand new primary school.

But it is against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis that Koulla Anslow has taken on her first headteacher role.

She is preparing to open Lakelands Primary School, a new £6.5 million facility which will eventually have space for 420 pupils.

Although she has almost 15 years experience in teaching, as coronavirus cases across Britain continue to rise, she has never faced anything quite like this.

“I was appointed in December before the effects of Covid had hit,” Ms Anslow said.

“Fortunately we managed to recruit two excellent teachers before the schools closed.

“But it became clear in April the building construction would have to be stopped, partly because of social distancing guidelines, but also because there were difficulties around the supply of materials.

“Luckily we managed to tell parents really early there were going to be delays.”

These delays have meant Lakelands, in Wagtail Mews, Stanway, has had to start its journey at the nearby Stanway Fiveways Primary School, where its first class is currently being taught.

But after the October half-term youngsters will finally be welcomed through the gates of the multi-million pound facility for the first time.

Ms Anslow said: “It is a fantastic feeling to be nearly ready to open to be able to show our parents around the building.

“They have taken a leap of faith in choosing us as a school and we really want to repay that faith.”

Ms Anslow is confident youngsters and their parents will agree the wait has been worth it when they see the standard of facilities they will have access to.

She said: “I have never led a brand new building and it is really exciting. We are really fortunate in our facilities.

“We have an excellent multi-use games area and we have already had some expressions of interest to use it in particular from football teams.

“We have a food and technology room which means we can deliver cooking and design classes.

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“We don’t have an IT suite because we will be bringing technology into the classroom, which is really exciting too.

“The spaces we have are really quite exciting and we have a clear vision over what we want to do with them.”

But coronavirus has caused a crisis within the education system with many youngsters missing months of school when lockdown measures were introduced.

Schools have reopened but things haven’t got any easier with cases springing up inside education establishments on an almost daily basis.

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Detailed risk assessments must be prepared by all schools to ensure they are able to keep children safe and Ms Anslow says safety will be an absolute priority for Lakelands.

She said: “Covid has presented some challenges with delays to the building which has had a knock on effect in terms of the infrastructure but also in some ways being a new school has made things a bit easier.

“We have space for 60 pupils per year but this year we only have one class. We are hoping next year we will have two classes for our reception group.

“As we only have one class at the moment in this respect our Covid risk assessment has been a bit more simple.”

She added: “All of our parents have been really supportive and so has the wider community as well as Stanway Fiveways and Essex County Council.

“I am really exciting to get into the new buildings and I can’t wait for people to see it.”

Prospective parents can visit Lakelands between November 23 and 27 for a tour of the school. Visit