Published: 12:14, 29 September 2021
| Updated: 12:21, 29 September 2021
Children at St Mary's Platt Church of England Primary School have a new school building.
It was opened officially on Thursday with a blessing by the Bishop of Tonbridge, Simon Burton-Jones.
The project has been 20 years in preparation, fund-raising and construction, but now the pupils have a state of the art school including a forest area, reflection building, play-based learning area, cookery room, sports hall, large playing field and gleaming new classrooms.
Tom Tugendhat, the MP for Tonbridge and Malling and a long-term supporter of the project was there to offer his congratulations, as was Cllr Matt Boughton, the leader of Tonbridge and Malling Council.
Head teacher Jenna Crittenden and the chairman of the school governors Paul Vallance also addressed the assembled staff, children and parents, and other guests including former school heads and governors and local supporters who have played a key role in making the new school a reality.
But the main focus was on head boy and girl James Benedikz and Annalise Eckersley, who read their own speeches and had the honour of cutting the opening ribbon.
Bishop Simon said: “Platt CE Primary School is central to the local community and I wish all the staff and pupils a safe and happy time in the new surroundings. This is a momentous occasion."
Mr Tugendhat said: "This is a joyful landmark for staff and pupils at the school, and the whole community around Platt.
"After so many years of work, I am delighted to see this project take shape to improve our children’s education for many years to come.”
Mr Vallance said: "The new school building has been a long time coming. The board of governors and local residents began planning the project 20 years ago and planning permission was secured in as early as 2012.
"I speak on behalf of all former and current governors who have been involved throughout the years when I say how delighted we are to see the doors to the new school open and the classrooms filled with children.”
Head teacher Mrs Crittenden, added: “The children have really enjoyed watching the build take place, but they’re even more excited to finally be in the new building."
She said: "The new school site, and its wonderful facilities, will ensure the school can continue to deliver an excellent standard of education for many years to come.”
The new school is next to the Memorial Hall on the A25, not far from the old building on the other side of the A25 Maidstone Road that has housed the school since 1912. The school was originally founded in a different building altogether in 1848.
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