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Topping Out Marks Celebration of All Age Academy

Shepway District Council Chairman Jennifer Hollingsbee, Folkestone Town Mayor Rodica Wheeler and two pupils helped mark a milestone in the development of the Folkestone Primary Academy on Friday 10th May when they formally topped out the new building, laying the first piece of astro turf for a revolutionary all weather roof play area. The ceremony was watched by Mike Pearson, the building’s Architect, John Higgens, Chairman and Construction Director of WW Martins, Project Manager Gabrielle Wilson, representing the Board of Trustees, and over seventy other guests, including pupils, parents and staff of Folkestone Primary Academy. Following the ceremony itself pupils from The Folkestone Primary Academy’s School Council served canapés to guests and talked about their new school.

Executive Principal of the Folkestone Primary Academy, Mrs Helen Tait, began the ceremony with an inspiring speech that focused on the positive impact the new building will have on young people’s education.  Mrs Tait comments: “I have such delight in having watched this project evolve from a vision into reality, and on behalf of everyone who is inheriting this inspirational school building I thank all those who have given such commitment to its creation.”

The new £4.5 million Primary Academy, which is being constructed by W W Martin, is of an innovative design, with three circular structures that mirror the existing secondary Academy building.  It is light and airy, will include many of the latest teaching facilities and equipment and a large sports hall. There will a strong emphasis on outdoor learning and creative play with the very best playground equipment set to be installed. The building has been designed to feature three teaching classes per year group, each with twenty pupils instead of the traditional thirty. This will allow teachers and support staff to provide children with more bespoke supervision. The new building will also allow the introduction of a Kindergarten for 3 to 4 year olds.

Architect Mike Pearson, of Guy Hollaway Architects, talks about the design of the building: “We are very proud of this project.  It represents a unique opportunity to design a building that compliments an existing structure to create an All Age Academy, with all the possibilities that brings to allow for seamless transition through a young person’s school life. We believe that our contribution to the architecture helps to reflect the ambition of the school to provide a successful foundation for the future of young people who attend the All Age academy.”