A country cricketer went back to school to open a new £22,000 computer suite.
Essex County cricketer Tom Westley, 25, returned to Meadow Primary School to cut the ribbon to the new facility, which includes 34 computers and ten iPads among the facilities, last Friday (March 21).
Westley, who now lives in Chelmsford but is originally from Weston Colville, got into the sport during a British schools’ cricket contest in 1998 in which Balsham finished runners up to a Scottish team.
“I recognise a few of the teaching assistants but unfortunately none of my teachers are here still,” he said.
“It’s an honour to come and flattering to get to open the suite – it’s incredible to see and I’m jealous when I think about what we used when I was here.
“I didn’t expect there to be a plaque with my name on it, so that’s quite humbling.
“It’s brilliant to see how colourful and happy the children are, and the new additions and classrooms have made the school much bigger.”
The suite was paid for by fund raising efforts such as cash from the 2013 Balsham Ball, endeavours of the PTA and donations.
“It is part of the school’s road to recovery under interim head Nicole Connor after Oftsed placed the school in special measures in October for ‘failing to provide an acceptable standard of education’.
“It’s brilliant to have it open and have some good news, and it’s part of the way forward in having the right equipment that will allow us to deliver outstanding technological education to children,” she said.
“It’s all part of the road to recovery – 18 months ago we didn’t have wifi, machines didn’t work and the children were uninspired about learning as it would take ten minutes to log on.
“It’s really good of Tom to come back and see the change of the last 14 years, and it was good for the children to see a former pupil that’s really gone on to achieve success.
“This has been a real community effort.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (April 3) Echo.