IT was the start of a journey for this first intake of students as they experienced their first week at a new school.

Building work at the new Paxman Academy in Shrub End, Colchester, was completed in July and the £14 million school, at the former Alderman Blaxill School site, has now opened.

The first students to walk through the doors were keen to get their first week underway.

Head teacher Carol-Anne Moffat said she was thrilled to greet the first cohort of students as they entered the building.

She said: “The students are already showing great pride in their school, their work and their attitude, and look extremely smart in the Paxman Academy uniform.

“It has taken over a year of planning but it has most definitely been worth it to see the year group settle into their new surroundings and routines, and utilise the amazing facilities we have on offer.

“Having the students on site has really brought the building to life, and all staff members have pulled together to make this work.”

Mrs Moffatt also worked at the Stanway School while Paxman Academy was under construction.

She said: “I am exceptionally proud to be the first head teacher of this wonderful school and feel excited by the journey the students have ahead of them.

“I am determined to make the educational experience as full and vibrant as possible.

“Extra-curricular opportunities have already commenced and it was wonderful to host our first Breakfast Club, providing a free-of-charge nutritional start to the day for all students.”

It will be a busy time for the staff and students as they continue to settle in and find their feet.

Mrs Moffatt is ready for the challenges ahead.

She said: “I know the weeks ahead are going to be busy, with plans already underway for our open evening on October 3.

“I am confident the school will go from strength to strength.

“I would like to thank the community, staff and the Sigma Trust for the support and encouragement given to make this all happen.”

The 900-place school has 180 Year 7 students and is already oversubscribed.

The academy, which is being run by the Sigma Trust, incorporates a three-storey building with 20 classrooms, a library, a suite of science laboratories, technology workshops, and a sports hall.

Barnes Construction carried out the work.

MAN Energy Solutions, based in Hythe Hill, was formerly known as Paxman’s.

To celebrate the school’s name and its association with Colchester’s industrial past. the firm donated an engine to the school in recognition of it being called after the Paxman engineering dynasty.

The firm said it will now work closely with the school to encourage pupils to take up careers in engineering.

Colchester councillor Lyn Barton, who fought to ensure the site was used for education, said: “It is fantastic to see the students looking so smart arriving at their new school.

“This is a wonderful outcome after many years of uncertainty.

“I am thrilled to see the site now firmly established for educational and community use, it is a new beginning.”