Published: 11:30, 12 October 2017
Deal’s new £25 million secondary school was officially opened by the highest ranking officer of the Royal Navy.
After years of planning and months of construction, the doors of the new Goodwin Academy, in Hamilton Road, were opened to staff and pupils on Monday, September 11.
But the official opening on Friday, organised by the school’s event manager, Danielle Bowden, was a time for celebration shared with dignitaries and invited guests as well as the opportunity to see the educational setting in full swing.
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Principal Simon Smith said: “I am delighted with our new home.
“This new building has given students and staff an inspiring and stimulating learning environment.
“We have moved back on to one site to enable the academy to be one large community hub providing the best education and opportunities in the area.
“It is my ambition for Goodwin Academy to be outstanding and the local school of choice. I believe the staff and students have the determination, resilience, commitment and loyalty to make the dream come true.”
Visitors were given a tour of the new build, which features about 70 classrooms over three floors and can house 1,300 pupils. This was followed by canapes made by food technology students.
They were also treated to a variety of performances including singing upon entry from Year 13 student Amy Pearson, a rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides, Now by the Goodwin Academy Community Choir, and a short performance of More than Bricks and Mortar, written and choreographed by head of dance and drama Kate Hayes Watkins.
Admiral the Lord Boyce, who opened the school, delivered a maritime-themed speech wishing the school “fair winds and following sea” before formally cutting a ribbon at the front of the academy.
He told KentOnline: “I am excited to have been asked to come along. It’s the most amazing facility with lovely classrooms and playing fields, and there is a feeling that everyone wants to be here, and because of that, I think the school has every chance of being a brilliant success.”
Elias Achilleos, CEO of Schools Company, which sponsors the school, reminded visitors it had been a seven-year journey. The project has been in the planning since funding was announced under the previous Labour government in 2009. It was endorsed by the coalition government in 2010.
He said: “It’s a wonderful moment and a long time coming.
“It’s taken a lot of people a long time to make this day happen. The journey started seven years ago and we owe it to those who started the vision and for everything they put in.”
A special mention was given to Sylvia Jones, former chairman of Castle Community College, past principals Phil Bunn and Jane Hadlow, chairman of the governors John Baker and Kier Construction, which completed the build.
An extra special mention went to former technology teacher turned new build coordinator Jeff Thompson.
Deal and Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said: “It was great to be shown around by two polite and well informed pupils, who looked very smart in their new school uniform. We fought a long and hard battle to deliver the new building for the Goodwin Academy.
"Thanks to everyone’s determined efforts, this really is a school transformed."
If you would like to look around the new school, pop along to one of their coffee mornings on Thursday, October 12, or Wednesday, October 18, from 9am to 10.15am.
Call 01304 403103 to book your place.
More by this authorEleanor Perkins