A primary school in Hextable has reopened following a £2.6m refurbishment to allow for extra student places.

The village school has been expanded from a two-form to a three-form entry system to ease the major demand for school places in Swanley and Hextable.

The site used to be home to separate infant and junior schools, and each building has been refurbished to provide bigger spaces for pupils.

There are now five additional classrooms, a brand new library, complete with a cosy reading ‘den’, and a larger hall.

There is even a designated parking and drop-off area opposite the school to ease the impact of increased traffic.

All the children sang songs before everyone was treated to a slice of celebratory cake, baked by the school’s kitchen staff.

The scheme cost £2.605m and was funded by KCC’s Children, Young People and Education capital budget.

Kent County Council says it will be short of £149m to meet the growing demand for school places over the next four years.

Education chiefs said in a report earlier this month: "The prospect of having to meet this £149m pressure through additional borrowing confronts the Country Council with an insoluble dilemma between delivering its

statutory duty on school places and maintaining its financial soundness."

Roger Gough, cabinet member for children, young people and education, said Hextable an area that faced particular pressure for places.

He said: "A few years ago, KCC identified a deficit of primary school places in the Swanley and Hextable area. We needed to react to that deficit and add one form of entry to one of the schools in that area.

“We identified Hextable Primary School as being suitable and have expanded the existing school to cater for 630 pupils rather than the previous 420.

"It’s wonderful to see pupils learning in modern buildings and enjoying playing sports on the brand new multi-use games area."

Head teacher Mrs Suzie Hall hailed the opening ceremony, which was on Monday, November 20, as a success and said she was very pleased with the new facilities.

She said: “We were delighted to officially declare the expansion of our school open. This included our fabulous new multi use games area, which we are very lucky to have as it will be such an asset to the school.

“We also have a wonderful new library with cosy corners and a purpose-built den to snuggle up in to read one of our many new books. The expansion also included a community room and five additional classrooms, which teachers and pupils have already settled into. The children have commented on how spacious, light and airy their new classrooms are."

The latest Education Commissioning Plan from KCC states that there is a need for the equivalent of 12 new secondary schools and 70 new primary classes over the next four years to keep up with demand.