Cement manufacturer Cemex played host to local schoolchildren at their Aylesford quarry as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility program and efforts to work more closely with local communities.
Year 4 pupils from St Peters C of E Primary School in Aylesford have just completed a project investigating their local Cemex quarry. The project is being run by Groundwork Kent & Medway.
The Aylesford quarry is a working sand quarry and can process up to 1,000 tonnes a day of sand. A key part of the project was the opportunity to visit the quarry. The class was given a full health and safety briefing before visiting the site, so they learnt about the dangers a quarry site can hold.
At the site they got the chance to see all stages of the sand quarrying process from the initial extraction from the water using a dredger, through to the washing, sorting and drying of the sand before it is bagged. The pupils enjoyed seeing the machinery at work close-up and especially getting the chance to wear the high-visibility jackets, hard hats and goggles.
Michael Hinson, Quarry Manager at CEMEX’s Aylesford Quarry said “We were delighted to show the pupils round the site. Quarries give communities valuable materials to build schools, hospitals, roads even down to ingredients for toothpaste and china clay. But they are working areas and can be dangerous, which is why we wear protective clothing all the time. It was an opportunity to show the children the dangers there are and why they shouldn’t use the quarry as a playground.”
During the project they also explored the history of the CEMEX site, finding out how sand quarrying has changed since the 1920’s and also what fossils have been unearthed onsite. During their quarry visit pupils got the unique opportunity to look for their own fossils in the clay, finding ammonites and belemnites. They were also shown some larger examples of fossils which have been unearthed on the site during the sand excavation.
Karen Godsell, Class Teacher at St Peter’s said “We all had a great time at the quarry. We learnt lots about how it works and were very surprised that it was all happening just behind our school. Finding the fossils was the highlight for the children and we are all inspired to find out even more.”
Jenny Glanfield, Education Officer at Groundwork Kent & Medway commented “It is great that CEMEX are fully supportive of the programme and have given us the opportunity to visit the quarry, enhancing many aspects of the pupils learning. Most of the children did not even realise there was a quarry on their doorstep; the project helps the pupils appreciate and understanding what is happening in their local environment.”