A former local pupil of 92 helped children open a new school.
Ronald Baldwin, who attended Itchingfield Primary School in 1929, joined with current pupils, Isabella Onoufriou, six, and Sam Saunders, 10, to cut the ribbon with head master Simon Simmons to officially open its replacement, Barns Green School.
Villagers, councillors, pupils, teachers, and local dignitaries all gathered to celebrate the start of a new era in the village.
Mr Simmons welcomed guests, followed by speeches from Ben Annetts, sales and marketing director of developers Berkeley Homes (Southern) and Penny Simpson from Itchingfield Parish Council and a blessing from Rev Sandra Hall.
Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham, said: “The village school is at the heart of the community and it was wonderful to see a former Itchingfield pupil from the 1930’s alongside today’s pupils taking part in the opening ceremony. A new school means so much to the community and I congratulate the school, staff, governors, village and also Berkeley Homes for a great achievement.”
Mr Simmons said: “The end result is even better than we could have ever imagined.
“It is a spacious, light, bright and airy building and the acoustics are amazing – it is remarkably quiet, even when the school is full of pupils.
“One of the big highlights for me is having a school hall large enough to hold a full school assembly, something we could never achieve in the old premises.”
Mr Simmons also presented a large outside wall mosaic, designed and donated by local artist Judith Petros, and unveiled the old Itchingfield School weather vane, transported and restored by parent Jason Fisher and soon to sit at the apex of the new building.
Visitors at the open day were able to experience firsthand that the new school is ‘shoeless’ because extensive under-floor heating provides warmth and comfort to maximise the naturally ventilated school.
Mr Annetts said: “Providing a new school for the community of Barns Green has been hugely rewarding for us as a company.”