THE diggers have moved in to start a £5.2m revamp at a primary school on Oxford’s Barton estate.

New classrooms are being built at Bayards Hill Primary School, in Waynflete Road, to replace some of those where children have been taught since the 1960s.

Pupils in three year groups have moved into temporary classrooms during phase one of the upgrade.

The phase involves refurbishing five classrooms and building four new classrooms, with a link building connecting two existing blocks, and a new playground.

It is expected to finish next August.

Phase two, which starts next summer, will include another new classroom, a kitchen, a car park and school entrance.

The existing buildings – used by 430 pupils – date back to the 1960s.

They were used by Bayswater Secondary School before Bayards Hill Primary School took over the buildings in 2003.

Headteacher Keith Ponsford said: “We have now reached a really exciting stage in phase one of three.

“Years 5 and 6 and one Year 2 class have moved into temporary buildings which are based on one of the playgrounds, as the demolition has now started on the two-storey block on the western side of the building.

“A couple of corridors have now been demolished.”

He added: “There’s some noise and it has been a little distracting, but we have been doing very well and we have a good relationship with the contractors.

“The children who have had to move to other classrooms are doing really well and they really seem to like them, which we were suprised about.

“They are very warm so I think it will be fine for them over the winter.”

Plans to upgrade Bayards Hill Primary School were first proposed eight years ago.

The project is being carried out on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council, which Mr Ponsford said had stepped in to fund the project after initial £9m plans by the Department for Education fell through in 2010.

The site has been fenced and cleared by Wantage-based construction specialist Stepnell, which is completing the refurbishment for the county council.

Contractors have been on site for just over a month in preparation for the demolition stage.

Old boilers will be replaced with a modern gas system and solar photovoltaic panels are being installed on the roof.