Barnabas Oley Primary School Depicts Life in Great Gransden for Hayfield Avenue Time Capsule Project

June 10, 2021

Barnabas Oley Primary School has depicted what life is like in the Cambridgeshire village of Great Gransden, by filling a large time capsule with children’s work and a collection of school information relating to the present day. Representatives from the historic Church of England School buried the time capsule at the nearby Hayfield Avenue residential scheme.

A number of children at the Ofsted Outstanding-rated Primary School - which has local pupils aged four to 11 - created work in Art and English classes to put into the time capsule. In addition, the large purpose-made metal capsule has also been filled with; snapshots of ‘Covid bubble’ moments; a copy of the School’s Covid-19 risk assessment, the PowerPoint sent to all children about lockdown, and a copy of a letter sent to parents about home learning; photos of recent School productions, Sports Day and the annual Founder’s Day event; the School prospectus and handbook; the School uniform, logo and mascot jumper; the School’s vision and its values cross; the School’s curriculum map, most recent Ofsted and SIAMS reports; information from the PTA and Barneys After School Club; a copy of its International School Award certificate; and a Covid-19 testing booklet and face mask.

The time capsule has been buried in an area of Hayfield Avenue’s landscaped Public Open Space, located off Sand Road within the quintessential Cambridgeshire village. Five-star housebuilder Hayfield is currently constructing 40 luxury homes, with sympathetic architecture that is reflective of the Arts and Craft style homes found in the vicinity. The siting where the time capsule is buried will be marked by a commemorative plaque.

Stephanie Reardon, Chair of the Governors for Barnabas Oley Primary School, buried the time capsule over one metre underground with Headteacher Mrs Michelle Downes, Head Girl Lizzie Savoury, Head Boy Henry Green, and representatives from all year groups at the 350-year-old School.

Stephanie Reardon said: “Projects like this are a fantastic way for our whole school community to unite and think about what aspects of life in the present day would be of interest to future generations. It was also a great experience to come to the Hayfield Avenue site to bury the time capsule, with pupils from all years getting stuck in with relaying topsoil. Seeing a busy development site in action and quizzing the Site Manager and his team has even inspired some of the children to think about a career in construction.”

Mrs Michelle Downes, Headteacher at Barnabas Oley Primary School said: “The global Coronavirus pandemic has altered the way some teaching has been delivered in recent times and also curtailed a number of the creative events and activities that celebrate the children’s many talents. However, the challenges of the past year have inspired us to create a range of unique and interesting material to put into the time capsule. It has been a wonderful and prestigious project for the whole school community, and I am grateful to Hayfield for working with us on this opportunity, and also for funding our new shed to store equipment.”

Hayfield also recently welcomed Barnabas Oley School’s Willow Class to the Hayfield Avenue development for a site safety briefing and digger demonstration. The children – all aged seven or eight – quizzed the Site Manager, Assistant Manager and Contracts Manager on how homes were built, different roles in construction, and the inner workings of the eco-friendly Air Source Heat Pumps which are being installed into all 40 homes.  

John Gray, Site Manager for Hayfield Avenue said: “Alerting children to the dangers present on live development sites is as important as enthusing them to consider a career in construction and engineering. We are so pleased with the thoughtful and considered way the children from Barnabas Oley School have engaged with the activities on site. And having the time capsule buried here creates a fascinating story that can be re-told to future generations.”

Prices for Hayfield Avenue’s current release of three and four-bedroom executive family homes range from £400,000 to £670,000. Great Gransden benefits from a traditional village community and has been a previous winner of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England’s Best Kept Village competition. It is highly sought-after due to its local amenities and schooling, peaceful yet convenient location, collection of historic buildings and the Gransden & District Agricultural Society Annual Show.

The Hayfield Avenue show home is open daily between 10am – 5pm, located at Sand Road, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire, SG19 3AQ. To find out more, please call 0800 046 9031, or email