Monday, 10 October 2011 22:05
Dover Road Primary School, Gravesham, fails OFSTED
The OFSTED decision to place Dover Road Primary School into Special Measures should be a matter of acute embarrassment to Kent County Council. I have recorded elsewhere my concerns about the shortage of places in North West Kent, especially urban Northfleet in Gravesham, expected for summer 2011. The problem in Northfleet was exacerbated by KCC's failure .........
to insist that the developers of the new housing estate at Springhead, Northfleet, should provide a new primary school for local children. The developers could be required to make such provision when the number of new houses passed the trigger point. The reason given by KCC for failing to force the developers to build a new school, as quoted in the Gravesend Messenger, was that they didn't want other local schools to be put at risk by attracting children from these schools, making them non-viable. This was never going to happen given pupil numbers forecasts and so, when these pupils arrived, KCC decided to expand Dover Road Primary School by an additional form of entry each year for the next seven years, to be housed in mobile classrooms as there was no permanent accommodation available. Latest figures for pupil numbers in urban Northfleet this September show that Dover Road has had to absorb an additional 27 children, seven of whom have been allocated by KCC as parents did not wish them to come to the school. For the rest of Northfleet, there are just 2 vacancies in one school, showing how close the situation is to breaking point. So now, we have a failing school even before the first of a large number of additional children are placed there, although the school lacks permanent facilities and the management skills to accommodate them. I believe parents in Northfleet and the new estate at Springhead have a right to be very angry at this situation. For KCC must surely have been aware of the difficulties at the school, subsequently highlighted in this highly critical Report, before deciding to put so many additional children there, although the school is clearly not capable of managing them.
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