I was priviledged to be asked by the Head Teacher to cut the ribbon on the new classroom block at Pembury Primary School today. Myself and the Cabinet Member for Education, Mark Dance both made speeches, as did Norman Dodd, Chair of Governors.
The building was a long time coming. Back in 2001, one of my first tasks as newly elected KCC Member was to push our education department to allow the school to sell its disused caretaker's house, then to be able to keep the proceeds towards its new classroom block. A long period of negotiation and planning followed, then tenders and appointment of contractors.
Throughout this whole project, head teacher Cath Thewlis and her Business Manager Sue Duckworth were passionate, energetic, and thorough. They managed the whole project as part of their day job. When catastrophe struck and the sewers exploded, we watched with frustration as a torrent of raw effluent down from Lower Green Road slowly flowed down through the playground and onto the site, contaminating materials, brickwork and timbers.
But tonight, all that was forgotten as almost one hundred local Pembury folk celebrated the brand new four-classroom facility, with music room, library, disabled facilities and covered walkway to the existing school buildings.
As I said tonight, it's been a long time coming, but the Head, the Governors, the staff, and most importantly the children deserve every brick.