Parents call on KCC to rebuild primary school
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.
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.
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highlighted the issue when it said the school was “improving its educational provision in spite of the limitations of outdated school buildings”.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.“