Former head returns to open school’s new half a million pound centre

JPCT 200212 Official opening of new art and design centre at Pennthorpe School, Rudgwick by former headteacher Simon Moll and wife his Stella, with headmaster Matthew King. photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 200212 Official opening of new art and design centre at Pennthorpe School, Rudgwick by former headteacher Simon Moll and wife his Stella, with headmaster Matthew King. photo by Derek Martin

A FORMER headmaster returned to open a Rudgwick school’s half a million pound new art and design centre on Monday.

Simon Moll went back to independent Pennthorpe School with his wife Stella to open the building, the idea for which was one of his final bequests to the school.

As new headmaster Matthew King acknowledged: “Simon himself has always been a keen artist and his support of the subject was one of the key reasons it has become such a strength.

“Every visitor to Pennthorpe comments on the startling quality of the work produced and refuses to believe how young the pupils are who are creating it.

“The new building now gives this thriving department the home it deserves.”

The new facility cost more than half a million pounds and marks a big investment in the talents of Pennthorpe’s pupils and the school’s creative ethos.

It offers three distinct but open plan areas for Design Technology, Art and ICT with 21 Apple Macs already installed in the iLab and a design library on hand to support independent learning.

Already this year, Pennthorpe’s artists have exhibited at local galleries, keen designers have built and raced their own electric cars in national competitions and year 8 pupil, Susie Exley recently won the top art award at prestigious Brighton College.

But head of art, Nick Perry, recognised the building would open up new and innovative opportunities for the pupils. “The new Macs should allow us to develop more complex and original design elements within our curriculum,” he said.

“The photography suite will allow pupils to explore animation and to learn to experience studio photography using industry standard lighting and Photoshop techniques.

“Beyond design, too, we now have the perfect facility to encourage advanced programming and musical composition and to really stretch our pupils in new and exciting directions using technology.”