New-look school fit for the 21st cen­tury

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Helping Others - by Mike Ben­nett mben­nett@thek­m­group.co.uk

TEN years and £18mil­lion later, the re­fur­bished North School in Ash­ford was fi­nally un­veiled last week.

The cul­mi­na­tion of the project came last week with the offi- cial open­ing cer­e­mony of the Es­sella Road school.

VIPs from across the county who gath­ered for the long awaited event were united in praise for the new-look school.

County coun­cil leader Cllr Paul Carter said that, as one of six schools in Kent built un­der the Gov­ern­ment’s Pri­vate Fi­nance Ini­tia­tive, it showed the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors could work to­gether suc­cess­fully.

Cllr Mark Dance, KCC cab­i­net mem­ber for ed­u­ca­tion, said the school now had great build­ings, qual­ity man­age­ment and staff and the as­pi­ra­tions of head teacher Les­ley El­lis to take them for­ward.

He said: “There are strong links with Had­low Col­lege that will see ma­jor im­prove­ments on the farm site.

“We are train­ing for the whole per­son, not just core sub­jects, as pupils need to be street­wise and em­ploy­able.

“We have got to take this on and win the chal­lenge and, with es­tab­lish­ments like this, we will win.”

Ash­ford MP Damian Green said he had been hugely im­pressed af­ter a whis­tle-stop tour of the class­rooms.

Mr Green thanked the head, her staff and pupils for their com­mit­ment to teach­ing and learn­ing over the past four years on a build­ing site.

He said: “The school farm is a great as­set and we all hope it will con­tinue for many years to come”.

Be­fore in­tro­duc­ing for­mer ath­let­ics and net­ball in­ter­na­tional Sue Camp­bell, who of­fi­cially opened the new school, chair of Gov­er­nors, Ali­son Monk, said it was a new beginning for young peo­ple to pre­pare for life and their ca­reers.

Pic­tures Dave Downey pd1500032

Some of the new build­ings

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