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Newspaper Columns

KM Column - The Malling School - Thursday 11 October

We have some fantastic schools in our community. From the amazing primaries to the range of secondaries that cater to students who learn in so many different ways. We're incredibly lucky to have them. That's why I enjoy visiting them so much, and try to meet with heads and governors regularly so they can share with me their plans for the future, raise any concerns where they think I can help, and generally just show me how brilliant they all are!

A few weeks ago, I visited the Malling School in East Malling. It’s a school that’s had a troubled reputation and more than its fair share of difficulties. That’s all changed. I have visited the school a number of times, and each time I go it just seems to get better and better. This time was certainly no exception. Their journalism club asked incisive questions and their political points were thought provoking. 

The transformation has come from a lot of hard work by a team of teachers, led by an inspirational head. Carl Roberts has made a difference to every aspect of the school life. He has worked tirelessly to make sure that pupils perform to the best of ability, and completely changed the school’s atmosphere and image. Of course, a lot of this is down to the continuing energy, hard-work and determination of all the students there, which is apparent as soon as you walk into the building. But we’re lucky to have such incredibly supportive and motivating teachers who work there taking our children through this important stage in life.

Sadly, after almost a decade in charge, Carl has left to test himself with a new challenge. I understand his need to move but I know I am not alone in missing him. But his legacy is a very strong school, now being led by John Vennart, whose reputation for hard work and energy will be a credit to everyone at the school. I’ve already heard some of his ambitious plans for the school and I look forward to seeing them deliver for our kids.

Change can be difficult for everyone but building such foundations is wonderful gift to our community and so while we say thank you to Mr Roberts, I know many will join me in saying welcome to Mr Vennart. We’re with you and will do what we can to help. 

Georgie Welford