New school consultation for Hawkenbury announced – 1FE only
The consultation surrounding the relocation and expansion of St Peters CofE Primary School to Hawkenbury has been published. The consultation period will take place from Tuesday 20th February 2018 to Tuesday 20th March 2018 (midnight). Following the consultation, the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education will consider all views expressed and then make a decision on how to proceed.
The education consultation document states that Kent County Council, with support from the Governing Body, is proposing to relocate and expand St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Windmill Street, Tunbridge Wells, from 140 places to 210 places, increasing the published admission number (PAN) from 20 to 30 Year Reception places (1 Form Entry) from September 2019. St Peter’s was judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in March 2014. For the Reception Year intake in September 2017 the school received a total of 107 parental preferences, of which 20 were 1st preferences, for a published admissions number (PAN) of 20.
The document states the proposed expansion will serve to meet the additional demand for Primary school places arising from new housing at Hawkenbury and localised demand for school places from the indigenous population. The relocation of the school to new, purpose built accommodation will significantly improve and increase the facilities available for its pupils.
However, a one form entry of 30 places, an additional 10 places per year, will not meet the already high local demand or considers the demand from the Berkeley Homes Hawkenbury Farm development (235 homes) or the development within Weald along Benhall Mill Road, which is less than 1 mile from the new school. These developments will have the majority of houses built by end of 2020, which is within 14 months of the school opening, assuming the school opens in September 2019.
Moreover, anticipating local demand based on first preferences alone is flawed because it is highly likely that those that selected St. Peter’s as their 2nd or 3rd preference were not given their 1st or 2nd preference. Therefore, anticipating pupil numbers at the new site should take into account all preferences, which is 107, plus the additional preferences from the new homes.
The document states that it is anticipated that there will be a future demand for additional places, in particular from new housing developments arising through the Borough Council’s Local Plan process, which will guide future development in the borough up to 2033. Therefore, it is intended to seek planning consent for a 2 form entry (2FE) school and to build St. Peter’s with larger ancillary facilities to accommodate 2FE when this is demonstrably required. The School’s Governing Body’s preference is for a 2FE school to be built immediately; however, in the interest of proceeding with the project, the Governing Body has confirmed its support to relocate the school with an expansion to 1FE and a 2FE core.
From the evidence presented it would seem appropriate to build and have a 2FE school from the offset in September 2019.
Following the consultation there will be a ‘drop-in’ information session on 7th March 2018 held at St Peter’s Hall, North Street, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 4SS 18:30-20:30, where you can ask questions and complete a response form.
Other ways to give us your views on the proposal:
- By handing your response form into the St Peter’s Church of England Primary School Reception Office.
- By emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By sending the response form to Jared Nehra, KCC Area Education Officer (West Kent), West Kent Area Office, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ.
- All responses must be received by midnight on 20th March 2018.