Parents to quiz Kingston Council on smaller secondary school plans

Kingston Guardian: Parents to quiz Kingston Council on smaller secondary school plans Parents to quiz Kingston Council on smaller secondary school plans

Parents are set to question Kingston Council about its latest plans for a smaller new secondary school tomorrow night.

The school, to be located in the North Kingston Centre, will have just 180 places, with six forms of entry, rather than the initial 240 across eight forms.

North Kingston has a school places crisis, which escalated in 2008 after the council was hit by a rising birth rate and a fall in children in private schools.

The new director of learning and children’s service Nick Whitfield has written to parents telling them the school will be smaller, partly based on places at Grey Court in Richmond.

Councillor Patricia Bamford, Kingston’s lead member for children and young people, said the decrease was based on changed pupil projections.

She said: “There was some opposition to an eight-form of entry school anyway.

"Some people thought it would be too large for the site. We don’t want to waste resources.”

Conservative councillor Dennis Doe said he recommended just six forms back in 2007. He said: “Instead of faffing about as they have been doing for years we have now got a director who says these are the figures, this is how we are going to do it.

“The figures suggest that six forms will be enough in north Kingston.”

But Laurie South, the chairman of Kingston Labour Party, warned if more places were needed, the backlash would be costly. He said: “If you have insufficient classes in a school the fury is going to be just overwhelming. If they get it wrong they deserve all the acrimony that parents can fire upon them.”

Kingston Educational Trust will enter the proposals to the Department for Education for the next round of free school submissions, which close on January 4, next year.

The council had hoped to start building last month, but failed funding bids and the shift to a free school proposal, put the bid back

For an update from the meeting visit this website on Friday.

Comments (2)

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9:45am Wed 10 Oct 12

reesmf says...

This is very worrying and reflects badly on the Council. The reason that we need the school in the first place is because of their failure to predict accurately the number of places required. When the crisis arose they redid the numbers and said 8FE was needed. Now, just a year or so later, they are saying it's 6FE. How can we possibly believe them?
This is very worrying and reflects badly on the Council. The reason that we need the school in the first place is because of their failure to predict accurately the number of places required. When the crisis arose they redid the numbers and said 8FE was needed. Now, just a year or so later, they are saying it's 6FE. How can we possibly believe them? reesmf
  • Score: 0

10:49am Wed 10 Oct 12

little smiff says...

Fortunately both myself and my offspring are long out of the education system. I simply can't understand how RBK have taken so many years to sort this problem out. Due to a shortage secondary places in Kingston we had to send my son to a school in Epsom. I was a pupil at the, now defunct, Rivermead school in "North Kingston" in the late sixty's. Never did understand why RBK closed it. Yes, there was a discipline problem but this was the era of skinheads and football violence. Nobody got stabbed though. The school was so well equipped that many of the local private or grammar schools in the area would gladly have swapped buildings. Two gyms, woodwork shops, metalwork shops, art rooms, science labs, assembly hall, language lab, general classrooms, large playground, canteen and on site playing fields as well as a dedicated sports field in Ham. How many secondary schools today have those sort of facilities? Easy to say in hindsight but surely the answer would have been to mothball part of the building and then bring it back into use at a later date. Really shortsighted by RBK to think that the school population would continue to decline long term.
Fortunately both myself and my offspring are long out of the education system. I simply can't understand how RBK have taken so many years to sort this problem out. Due to a shortage secondary places in Kingston we had to send my son to a school in Epsom. I was a pupil at the, now defunct, Rivermead school in "North Kingston" in the late sixty's. Never did understand why RBK closed it. Yes, there was a discipline problem but this was the era of skinheads and football violence. Nobody got stabbed though. The school was so well equipped that many of the local private or grammar schools in the area would gladly have swapped buildings. Two gyms, woodwork shops, metalwork shops, art rooms, science labs, assembly hall, language lab, general classrooms, large playground, canteen and on site playing fields as well as a dedicated sports field in Ham. How many secondary schools today have those sort of facilities? Easy to say in hindsight but surely the answer would have been to mothball part of the building and then bring it back into use at a later date. Really shortsighted by RBK to think that the school population would continue to decline long term. little smiff
  • Score: 0

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