WITH comfy chairs and gleaming surfaces, students could not wait to visit their new cafe.
Over the past six months the 1960s cafeteria at Cowplain Community School has been transformed into a state-of-the-art restaurant.
The makeover comes hot on the heels of a much-improved Ofsted report for the school, in Hart Plain Avenue, giving teachers and pupils reason to celebrate.
Headteacher Ian Gates has brought the school up from an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.
He is delighted with the result, which puts the school in the top 10 per cent of improving schools in the country for student progress.
And Mr Gates, who joined the school in 2013, was praised for his ‘resolute drive and ambition’ which led to significant improvements since the last inspection.
We are determined to improve the school further, securing it as a centre of excellence for the young people of our communityIan Gates
He said: ‘I am extremely pleased that Cowplain has now been graded as a “good” school in all categories by Ofsted.
‘This is testament to the hard work by staff, students, parents and governors over the last two years.
‘We are determined to improve the school further, securing it as a centre of excellence for the young people of our community.’
And pupils agree that it is improving.
Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery was given a hand to officially open the new cafe by Year 9 pupil Louise Weaver.
She said: ‘I think it’s smart and modern.
‘It’s definitely worth every penny spent on it. I’m happy with it. I think the tables are laid out in a way that helps everyone socialise with each other.
‘Before, all the different year groups used to stick with their own classmates, but now we can all mix together.’
A year ago Mr Gates decided pupils deserved better than a drab 1960s canteen, split into four rooms.
The new facility can fit 170 pupils and food is made in a commercial kitchen.
Mr Gates said: ‘It provides us with a state-of-the-art kitchen as well as a modern environment for students to eat in, as well as giving us a flexible space to use for theatre and music productions, open evenings and also community use.’
He added: ‘We had a great 2015 at Cowplain, with our superb Ofsted and good exam results, and now 2016 has started in an equally positive way with the opening of our new dining area.’
Mr Hollingbery said the cafe was ‘fantastic.’