Pupils and staff at Wouldham All Saints Church of England Primary School are celebrating the opening of their brand new buildings following a move to a new site.
The 152-year-old school has moved from its former site in School Lane, Wouldham, roughly 0.65 miles away to its new, bigger home on Worrall Drive, off Hall Road in the same village.
It reopened on Monday, February 19.
The relocation, which cost £7.95m, has allowed the school to expand from 210 to 420 school places and from a single form entry (FE) to a 2FE with potential to expand to 3FE in the future should it be needed.
At the same location there will be a satellite for Nexus, a special school in Tonbridge. Up to 48 SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) pupils will be based there and will receive the same support as their peers at the main school. Opportunities may arise for Nexus pupils to benefit from joining in with some activities at the mainstream school.
Head teacher Carl Fitter said: “Staff, governors and pupils have all been very excited about the relocation and expansion of Wouldham All Saints Church of England Primary School.
“The school has significantly grown in popularity over the past few years, to the point we were oversubscribed, and we are delighted we can now welcome more pupils into our community.
“We are very pleased to have moved into the new buildings and look forward to benefiting from improved teaching and learning opportunities for many years to come.
“Staff and volunteers have worked extremely hard to get the school ready for action and are very proud to be able to work in such a magnificent, purpose-built setting. We are looking forward to delivering excellent education within an excellent environment and would like to thank all who have made this wonderful opportunity possible.”
Roger Gough, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “We are very pleased with the opening of the new school buildings, which provide excellent learning facilities that will benefit many pupils in Wouldham and the local area.
“Kent County Council is responsible for ensuring there are sufficient high quality school places for all learners in the county and we take that responsibility very seriously.
“We are working closely with schools throughout the county to identify potential expansion opportunities to provide additional places, as the number of pupils seeking education within Kent continues to rise.”
The school stands on land within the new Peters Village community, under construction by the site’s developer Trenport and a number of UK house builders.
Trenport director Chris Hall said: “Along with a new bridge, roads, and village facilities, a new primary school was part of planning permission for the new Peters Village community. But when we started building in 2014, Wouldham All Saints Church of England Primary School and its governors instigated an approach by KCC to create an enlarged school to take pupils from there too.
“We were delighted to support that initiative, which has created a new school to serve both Wouldham and Peters Village, which is nearly twice as large as that originally envisaged, and with enhanced facilities. It will also bring the established Wouldham village community closer to the new one growing at Peters Village, and surely become an example of enlightened co-operation between public and private sector bodies.”
An opening ceremony will take place next month, on Monday, March 19, when Bishop of Rochester, The Right Rev James Langstaff, will declare the school officially open. Press will be very welcome at the ceremony – full details will be sent out closer to the date.