With the news that the John Wallis Academy has reached the stage of applying for planning permission for a new primary school building on the site, it is time to celebrate the improvements in education in South Ashford in the last few years.
In living memory the secondary school has had three different names and identities, changing from Duncan Bowen to Christ Church before becoming the John Wallis academy. Although I remember there were some really good years at Christ Church under one head, by the time it came to be transformed into an academy it desperately needed it.
No one can doubt the massive improvements under the current school leadership, helped by the new buildings in which much of the school’s learning and teaching now takes place. Whenever I visit the John Wallis I am impressed by the atmosphere of buzzing activity and purposeful learning.
I hope that the new building project for the primary school formerly known as Linden Grove will achieve exactly the same transformation for younger children in South Ashford. Years ago I remember being contacted by parents very angry that their children had been allocated to Linden Grove. Indeed I have a vivid memory of one mother in tears at the prospect.
All of that has now changed, and I suspect that when another new building has been added to the campus there will be high demand for places at an academy which will educate children from the age of three up to the time they leave at the end of a sixth form course.
Altogether the prospects for children in South Ashford have been much improved over the past decade, with the changes at the school reflected by the improvements in the housing stock in the area. I hope the next step goes as well.