Marpool School opened its brand-new Juniper Resource Base, for children who need specialist education provision this week.

Exmouth mayor, Steve Gazzard, Town Cryer Roger Bourgein joined Exe Estuary Federation, Executive Headteacher, Rachel Pattison to open the Resource Base.

The Town Cryer announced the official opening before a purple ribbon was cut and guests from charities, organisations representing children and families, parents and local supporters were welcomed inside to join teachers and children for tea and homemade treats.

Melhuish and Saunders, the construction team behind the inspiring new building, which took three years to complete, worked alongside Mrs Pattison to understand what was important for the children and the learning provision.

The design of the building helps to create a more homely learning environment. There is a range of accessible spaces including a communal kitchen, cooking area, sensory pod, creative zone, and computer/teaching rooms. It’s also been designed so that the communal areas can be used by local groups and organisations at weekends or evenings.


Outside there is easy access to the rest of the school and an area that can be used for outdoor education. On the day of the launch, Melhuish and Saunders Managing Director, Darryl Mitchard presented the children with a hamper full of toy construction kits and children’s books.

Exe Estuary Federation, Executive Headteacher, Rachel Pattison said: “It was so wonderful to see the children proud and happy about their new bespoke environment which will allow them to have a real sense of belonging where both their learning and emotional needs can be met.”

This project was made possible thanks to the Exe Estuary Federation, Marpool Primary School, Melhuish and Saunders, our local Rotarians, Dave Roberts, The Bailey Thomas Charity, The Norman Trust, Tesco, The Co-Operative and supporters from the GoFundMe page.

Juniper pupil, Jack said, “It's incredible here because we can do our maths and our literacy and then we can do choosing."

The Juniper Resource Base project was the result of a successful pilot that was set up to meet the demand for this type of special educational provision.

In Devon, the most common type of primary need is Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH). Children and young people with SEMH needs can struggle to engage with learning and cope in a classroom without additional strategies and interventions.

A Resource Base can support children to overcome their barriers to learning, to be resilient and better able to cope and be re-integrated into a mainstream setting in which they can achieve their potential.

Exmouth Rotarian, Brian Drake said, “It was a lovely joyous day to be able to celebrate the Grand Opening of the new Juniper Resource Base. I know in the early days how hard Rachel and the team worked to gain support for the idea, so it was particularly rewarding to see the children so proud of their new learning centre.

"Along with Simon Wood, I was shown around by Logan who took great delight in guiding us around the various rooms and explaining what they did in each one. The children also enjoyed offering tea and toast each time we visited the Kitchen area.

"I feel great pride that Rotary has been able to assist with this wonderful project, and I would like to congratulate everyone that has played a part in bringing this dream to a triumphant conclusion.”