School celebrates end of ‘long and challenging’ building project

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There were smiles all round as Langley Green Primary school celebrated the official end of years of building work.

With the third and final phase of building complete at the school in Stagelands, parents, governors and guests joined staff and children for a celebration afternoon on Thursday (April 14).

Enthusiastic members of the school council – which is made up of one child from each class – gave the guests a guided tour of the new building and the recreation area, talking animatedly about everything their school had to offer.

Langley Green councillor Brenda Smith, accompanied by her husband, Alderman Jim Smith, cut a blue ribbon to mark the occasion.

She said: “Jim and I were delighted to be there for such a special event.”

Describing the school’s journey to completion as “a real success story”, Brenda praised headteacher Alison Wallis and her team.

She added: “I am very proud of our wonderful school, but it is not just about the building. The ethos and atmosphere of Langley Green Primary is very special and can be felt whenever you are there. This is of course due to Alison’s stewardship and the dedication of governors staff and parents all working for the benefit of the children.”

The school’s building saga stretched back to 2003 when the infant school, in Martyrs Avenue was merged with the middle school West Sussex County Council and the infant school land sold.

Brenda said: “The sale of the Martyrs Avenue site for the Langley Green Hospital was supposed to provide the funding for a new build school. However, the money was not ring-fenced for Langley Green and was used in other areas.

“A very long battle to get a new purpose-built primary school began.”

While expansion work did begin, the children were left with a building site for a playground in 2009 when the council ran out of money and the work ground to a halt.

Brenda teamed up with the Crawley Observer to launch the Finish Our School campaign and, with the support of Councillor Peter Griffiths, who was cabinet member for education, and money from the sale of part of the school playing field, the work got back under way.

Mark Sudan, chairman of governors, described the school’s building journey as “long and challenging” and paid tribute to the “commitment and determination” of everyone who had played a part, both inside and outside the school.

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