Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, impressed by his welcome and the new facilities at the school which he officially opened today (Wednesday).

'The best welcome I have ever had' is how a Government Cabinet minister described his visit to Chulmleigh Community College today (Wednesday).

Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, called in during a two day tour of the South West to officially open the visitors' reception of the school's new facilities, of which phase 2 has now been completed.

Mr Javid was invited to attend Peter Heaton-Jones, Conservative parliamentary candidate for North Devon, was welcomed by the whole school.

"I have never had 600 people meet me when I pull up in a car before, I will never forget it and I think it will take some beating," he said.

Sajid Javid applauds after watching a student drumming performance.Sajid Javid applauds after watching a student drumming performance.

Addressing the students, he said: "I know that you want to see this school improve and see more facilities, and that's something I am going to learn about today and take back with me."

A decade long campaign by staff and the community to see the school redeveloped finally resulted in the demolition of decaying pre-war wooden huts and replaced with new facilities.

But there was disappointment last year when funding for the final phase 3 was refused and the school is hoping for better luck later this year - a case Mr Javid said he would personally press with his Cabinet colleagues.

Mr Heaton-Jones said: "Together with the excellent team from the school, we were able to show how much has been achieved.

The minister talks to student journalists Lillie Tucker and Flora Davies during his visit to Chulmleigh.The minister talks to student journalists Lillie Tucker and Flora Davies during his visit to Chulmleigh.

"Crucially we also lobbied on the need to secure funding for phase three of the project. I was able to have a private meeting with Sajid afterwards, and I'm delighted to say he has agreed to meet the Education Secretary as soon as possible to push our case."

After a whistle-stop tour of the new classrooms, canteen and drama area, he said: "From what I have seen so far, I am very impressed.

"It's a great story of how a community with help from politicians, parents and a very active head have be able to put together a plan for redevelopment at a low cost."

Headteacher Mike Johnson said they were delighted to welcome the minister to the school and show him the new buildings: "It's important to showcase what has been done, because it shows what can be done if the government is prepared to think about how it uses tax payers' money," he said.

Peter Heaton-Jones, secretary of state Sajid Javid and Chulmleigh Community College headteacher Mike Johnson view the new drama facilities.Peter Heaton-Jones, secretary of state Sajid Javid and Chulmleigh Community College headteacher Mike Johnson view the new drama facilities.

"With the support of local people, anything is possible. This is a demonstration of what can be expected with a comparatively small amount of money of you give it to the people that will benefit from it."