Flying Home Project

Library Update March 2024 

Our plane library is officially open! We hope the children had a wonderful time exploring it yesterday. Each class has a timetabled slot to go into the plane starting from next week.

A big thank you to everyone who helped to make this exciting project happen. Another thank you to those who donated books too, we have a large variety of books on offer which is fantastic.

Flying High at St Helen’s ✈️????

BBC Points West Article

Since the plane was lifted in to place over the last year or so- ongoing work has been completed inside the plane. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this amazing piece of work.

Plane lifted into place January 2023.

Library Update November 2022

We are so nearly close to the library plane being delivered to the school site and then have some work to do on the interior. 

Please see below the attachment shared at the recent governors board- to show the work that has been completed and how the plane has already been transformed! 

Flying Home Library Project November 2022

Exciting new reading project - update

Over the last few months we have been working behind the scenes on a rather exciting project. Back in May, after explaining the idea of our project to the Local Authority, we secured a grant to build a new outdoor reading area that can be accessed by children and staff during the day and then eventually to families outside of the school day.

The Local Authority wanted to support projects that would make a difference to the school community and area, but also linked to the school’s own vision and values.

Our project: #flyingbackhome

Our vision statement for St Helen’s is ‘Flying High – soar on wings like eagles’ and our commitment as a whole school community is to aiming high, making the most out of every minute of every day and striving to continuously improve.

‘Flying High’ was a phrase invented by one of our children and our school houses were also named by the same child, Miles, after famous planes that had been built in Bristol. The link to planes in Alveston is also strong, with Sir Captain Frank Barnwell, famous aerospace designer, who lived in Alveston and is buried in the St Helen’s Church graveyard.

Our project will see the front section of a Bristol-built plane, the BAE146, ending its life back in the area where it was first made. The photo below shows some of the workforce in Filton who built it in the 1980s.


Image 1: The BAE146 being built in Filton in the early 1980s.

We will be reclaiming it from aircraft salvage, where it is currently housed, converting it into a library and group space and transporting it to St Helen’s, where it will hopefully sit and become a symbol of our vision statement and a resource for the children and families in our community.

What happens next?

We have had an architect kindly volunteer her time to create drawings of what the plane would look like in the school grounds and we will be applying for planning permission in the next week or so. Once the planning planning permission goes ‘live’, we’d like to encourage members of the community, if they feel able, to send in letters or emails of support.

Alongside planning, we will also be fundraising to try to raise the remaining money that we need to ensure there is an electrical connection, furniture and books for the new library space.

We have already formed a partnership with GKN Aerospace, who will be volunteering some of their apprentices to refurbish the cockpit, make any other repairs to the bodywork that are needed and paint a new sign ‘Flying High’ on the outside.
What will it look like?

Below is a photo of our plane, currently housed in the Cotswolds, and a photo of another project which shows an example of what we will be aiming for. The architect’s drawing show where we hope it will be situated, in a place where these is easy access for families after school etc, when COVID has passed and we have worked out a system for lending books etc.

Image 2: The plane, currently in salvage.

Image 3: Example of plane when installed

Architect’s plan: Showing proposed location at the front of the school, adjacent to the KS2 playground.

We wanted to share this news with you before it goes to planning. When it does go to planning, we’d be grateful for any letters of support and if you are aware of any avenues for additional funding, please do get in touch and let us know!