Award Winning Study Centre to Shout About
Weald of Kent School recently opened their brand new Mathematics, Sixth Form Study and Exam centre with a ceremony attended by both the Mayor of Tonbridge, Cllr. Howard Rogers and the Rt Hon Sir John Stanley MP. It was important for the school to have a very grand opening ceremony not only to mark their expansion, but to make people aware of a project that escaped the notice even of some students.
Despite the complications presented by the small site, which also necessitated the construction of a new access road, many pupils were unaware of construction taking place. Only those who could actually see the site from their classrooms or the playing fields had any indication of the new block taking shape. It was just P.E lessons that suffered some minor disruption on craning days, as pupils and teachers on the fields marvelled at how quickly the modules were being craned into place.
“We needed it yesterday,” was how Director of Resources for the School, Clair Wilkins, described the speed required for the new building. Wernick took only 22 weeks to leave the school with the two storey block housing 12 classrooms. It was estimated that using traditional building methods may have made the school wait six months longer, not taking into account unpredictable factors like weather. Using modular construction, the build was completed in time to ensure students taking mock ‘A’ Level exams would do so in rooms specially designed to reduce distractions from exterior noise. The students who now register in the new classrooms consider themselves the luckiest in the school.
While silence is a must during examinations, a lot of talking was needed to finalise the design of the building as the needs of the school evolved. Wernick’s responses were almost immediate, from the tendering process through to handover. “The speed with which the team turned things round was incredible,” commented Clair.
Aside from the straightforward matter of pupil numbers, the modular building will also help the school train new teachers as a ‘teaching school’, one requirement of which is to show a proven track record of improvement. The school has definitely come a long way since 1981, when a predicted lack of demand meant the school was only saved from closure by signatures from hundreds of students.
The finished building blends perfectly with the existing classrooms and has already won an award from the Tonbridge Civic Society. On opening the new study centre. Chair of Governors, David Bower, expressed his belief that the building reflected the school’s motto of ‘Academic excellence, personal success’.