MPopens new primary school

MAIDSTONE’S newest primary school has been officially opened with the planting of an apple tree. Principal Libby Fiddock wel-

comed local MP Helen Whately (pictured above) to Langley Park Primary Academy for the official opening of the new school on Fri- day, March 102017. To mark the occasion, Mrs Whately planted an apple tree do- nated by Rumwood Nurseries and watched by a group of governors, parents, teachers and children. Members of the business commu-

nity also attended. They included senior managers from local busi- nesses.

Special guests included Stuart

Reeves (executive director Leigh Academies Trust), Debbie Biggen- den (executive principal Leigh Academies Trust), Paulina Stockell (KCC), Gary Cooke (KCC), Linda

Drugs found in car check

AROUTINEcheck on a car by offi- cers on patrol in Maidstone chanced on two men dealing in crack cocaine and heroin. The men – aged 17 and 38 –were spotted with a faulty brake light in PalaceAvenue. However, on closer inspection, 65 wraps of crack co- caine and heroin and a knife with a 10in bladewere recovered. Cannabis, scales, two phones and

£1,000 were also found during the shake-down in Loose Road at 10.10pm on Monday, March 6. The 17-year-old, from the Croy-

don area, later admitted possession of the knife, criminal property and the drugs, with intent to supply. He was sentenced on March 10

by Mid Kent magistrates to two years in youth detention. The second man, Richard Lovett,

from Duncan Road, Gillingham, has been charged with driving without a licence or insurance. He will appear before Mid Kent Mag- istrates’ Court on Friday, March 31.

Pickles (KCC) and Richard Ashby (Langley Park Developments). Mrs Fiddock said:“Wewant chil-

dren to learn within a culture of cu- riosity, enjoyment and positive approaches to new experiences and skills and this state of the art build- ing can only help us to achieve this”. Aspart of LeighAcademies Trust,

the new primary academy “is com- mitted to shaping lives and trans- forming communities”. The school caused controversy be-

fore it opened when only a handful of its initial places were taken up voluntarily by local parents. Other places were allocated to children who lived some distance away. It now has 23 pupils in the nurs-

ery class, 51 in reception and 28 in year one. Its eventual capacity is 420. Langley Park will be pivotal in catering for the thousands of homes being built along the A274.

Plan to reduce

the skills gap THE county council has launched its Made In Kent campaign, with the aim of doubling the number of apprenticeships on offer. In launching the scheme last

week, county council leader Paul Carter called on employers to make the most of the changes being made to the Government’s apprentice- ship programme next month. These will allow businesses to com- mission theirowntraining, hire ap- prentices of any age, upskill their workforce and access funding for training throughout the appren- ticeship programme. Paul Carter said: “These changes

make the scheme even more com- pelling than before; they will facil- itate considerable new investment in staff training and development, and do much to reduce the skills gap many businesses regularly re- port.” The county council is also pro-

viding a new advice service to help on 03000 414005 or you can email

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