Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Final phase of works due to start at St John's Catholic Primary School, Gravesend, after pupils start school in shed

The final phase of works to expand a primary school will get underway this month (August) after the start of the project overran by an entire school year.

Building work at St John's, Gravesend, was due to finish last September but dragged on into term time with the delay meaning one group of reception children began their academic lives in a shed, according to one parent.

After an outcry the four and five year olds were moved to a corridor and finally to a class room when the work still didn't come to an end.

St John's Catholic Primary School in Rochester Road, Gravesend
St John's Catholic Primary School in Rochester Road, Gravesend

Matt Smith's son Austin, five, was among the group to start out in the shed, his daughter Amelia, eight, also goes to the Rochester Road school while Edward, four, will start there in September.

He said: "When Austin started at the school they had to put two sheds together. That was their classroom until the parents kicked off. It had no proper heating or ventilation.

"The reason the work was held up so badly was because they had to tear down the new classroom half way through due to pipes running underneath it."

He said the school closed two days early for the summer break so work could start on the next phase of the project, with children made to sit on the floor for the final three days as all the furniture had been moved.

The reason behind the project is so the school can grow from three-form to four-form entry which will drastically increase the number of pupils.

At the last count there were 722 pupils at the school, almost 100 over capacity.

Works are scheduled to go on for an other six months at St John's
Works are scheduled to go on for an other six months at St John's

According to Mr Smith the headteacher, staff and parents were opposed to the expansion but were told by Kent County Council and Southwark Diocese that their's was the only school suitable.

He added there was "no chance" the works, scheduled to last another six months, would be finished on time.

KCC's director of education, planning and access Keith Abbott said: “The current phase of the expansion at St John’s involves the external play areas. This will begin shortly and last over the summer holiday period.

“The final phase is the staff room extension and additional classrooms and hall space. This will also start over the summer holiday period and is a large project likely to require a five to six-month construction period. This has been well documented.

“The previous scheme overran because the project required close management during the construction period as it was being undertaken in a live school environment. This meant that delivering the building work to the required standard took longer than originally anticipated.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More