STARTING the new term was particularly exciting for Holy Cross Catholic Primary School as children as young as four walked through the school gates for the first time.

Yesterday, the first reception class started at Holy Cross – formerly known as Holy Rood Catholic Junior School – complete with new school uniform after the school expanded from a junior to a primary school.

The school has rebranded as part of the expansion, which will also see it begin to move onto a purpose built site nearer to St Joseph’s Catholic College, next year.

Holy Cross headteacher, Tony McAteer, said: “Everybody is delighted about opening as Holy Cross and we look forward to welcoming the children to the new reception class.

“We have a new school uniform, a new minibus and a new strip for the football team, so it is quite an exciting time.

“We changed the name to Holy Cross because of course Holy Rood does mean Holy Cross. But we wanted to differentiate it as a new school because it is now a primary school rather than a junior school.”

New resources are now fully in place for the youngest members of the school after an extension to the rear of the existing building, which features a reception class room, a space for children with special educational needs (SEN) and an office for staff.

The project is being overseen by the Clifton Diocese and the school was initially intended to be run by St Joseph’s, but this was reconsidered when the college was placed in special measures by Ofsted.

The diocese and Holy Rood still believe the new school will prove a big boost to the town, especially considering the rising concern over the increasing shortage in school places.

Mr McAteer said: “Expansion into an all-through primary school is very exciting and we are delighted to be able to offer 30 reception class places in September to meet local demand.

“The Catholic Christian ethos of the existing school will be retained by Holy Cross Catholic Primary School.”

From September 2015, children in reception class will move onto the new dedicated site at St Joseph’s Catholic College as they begin year one, but those in years three, four, five and six at the Upham Road site from next month will not be moved to the new site at any time.

As the junior school slowly empties, the infant school in Groundwell Road will move over and occupy both sites as a second, full primary school.