Par­ents call on KCC to re­build pri­mary school

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Paul Fran­cis

PAR­ENTS at an Ash­ford pri­mary school are call­ing on county ed­u­ca­tion chiefs to keep their prom­ise to re­build pupils’ class­rooms.

They say Kent County Coun­cil has let them down af­ter it un­ex­pect­edly dropped a long­stand­ing re­build­ing scheme for Ken­ning­ton Ju­nior School in Up­per Vicarage Road be­cause of a bud­get squeeze.

A pe­ti­tion signed by nearly 500 peo­ple urg­ing KCC to re­con­sider its de­ci­sion was handed in at County Hall last week.

It comes af­ter fed-up par­ents com­plained that the coun­cil had re­neged on a pledge to be­gin work over the sum­mer hol­i­days.

In a let­ter, par­ents say the school’s 350 pupils are be­ing taught in build­ings that are di­lap­i­dated and to­tally un­suit­able for learn­ing and cat­a­logue a list of con­cerns with the ex­ist­ing build­ings.

Be­yond re­pair

Th­ese in­clude rot­ting doors and win­dow frames, leak­ing roofs, holes in floors and walls, un­even floor­ing and metal pipes stick­ing out into the play­ground from out­build­ings.

Lee Clark, who along with fel­low par­ent Debbie Ir­win pre­sented the school’s pe­ti­tion to KCC chair­man Cllr Peter Lake, said class­rooms were now be­yond re­pair and needed to be pulled down.

“While the school is do­ing the best it can to patch up the dam­age, the re­al­ity is that we need new build­ings.

“We were ex­pect­ing to see some progress over the sum­mer but they have put it off for three or four years,” he said.

He em­pha­sised that the school was do­ing what it could to make the best of the build­ings but their con­di­tion was now so bad, the morale of staff and the well-be­ing of pupils was be­ing af­fected.

“We would like KCC to re­con­sider its de­ci­sion to with­draw fund­ing,” he said.

Outdated

A re­port by Of­sted pub­lished ear­lier this year high­lighted the is­sue when it said the school was “im­prov­ing its ed­u­ca­tional pro­vi­sion in spite of the lim­i­ta­tions of outdated school build­ings”.

KCC cab­i­net mem­ber for ed­u­ca­tion op­er­a­tions, re­sources and skills Mark Dance said: “I sym­pa­thise with the pupils, staff and par­ents and we will en­deav­our to make sure the project hap­pens.

“In the mean­time a pro­gramme of work is be­ing agreed to ren­o­vate some ac­com­mo­da­tion to im­prove stan­dards and we will do main­te­nance work to the main school build­ing.

“We are com­mit­ted to the im­prove­ment scheme at the school. How­ever, in the light of the eco­nomic down­turn, we have had to re­view our medium-term spending plans and the project at Ken­ning­ton Ju­nior School has been de­ferred.“

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