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Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

Academy and Free School News April 2014

Once again this article only just makes it into the month, as I have been overwhelmed with concerns about primary school provision, and other news some of which is published or to come shortly.

Academy News

Three new Kent academies have opened this month, two sponsored by Lilac Sky Academy Trust: Morehall Primary School in Folkestone and Richmond Primary School in Sittingbourne. The third is the converter academy, Whitehill Primary School in Gravesend federated with Gravesend Grammar School.

In Medway there are two new stand-alone converter academies, Bradfields Special School and Delce Junior School.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Dover has also applied to become an academy, presumably joining the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership, which appears to be taking over all local Catholic schools.

Reculver CofE Primary School and St Mary of Charity CofE (Aided) Primary Schools are to be sponsored by the Diocese of Canterbury, with West Kingsdown CofE VC Primary School going to the Diocese of Rochester, as the churches take over an ever growing proportion of schools from KCC. Cuxton Community Junior School is to become an academy sponsored by the Primary First Trust, a multi academy group running academies in South East London. The troubled Warren Wood Community Primary School is to be taken over by the Greenacre Academy Trust. All of these schools have had a recent troubled history, some described in this website, which you can find using the search facility.

Free School News

No new developments this month, except to record the initial success of Kent’s Free Schools against recent national debate about the number of empty spaces in Free Schools........

To put it into context, a quote from a KCC Report says: “At present we have five Free Schools open in Kent.  All are in areas of socio-economic advantage, rather than growing diversity and choice in disadvantaged areas of need.  There appears to be ‘middle class capture’ of the Free Schools process, in order to create new capacity in areas that do not necessarily need school places”. The key table is:

Level of Demand for Free School Places in Kent 2013-14


Year 7: Numbers in Oct 2013       

Allocation Mar 14, 2014

1st choices not offered


30 up to 60














Year R: Oct 13




Not yet available but full





Further information about Trinity and Wye confirms the extent of that popularity. Trinity has 45 children on its waiting list for September; 24 appeals for places and a non-faith catchment area of less than two miles.  Wye also has a large number of appeals.

The Jubilee Free School in Maidstone and the INSPIRE Special Free School in Medway will be joining these in September.

A number of proposed Free Schools have changed direction and are now to become academies.

In Medway,New Horizons Primary School in Chatham is opening in September. It is on the site of the old Medway Community College, sponsored byRGS/AFS Thinking Schools Academy Trust with First Education Alliance and Marmox UK Ltd. RGS/AFS is the alliance of The Rochester Grammar School and All Faiths’ Children’s Community School as equal partners. The Academy Trust incorporates these two schools, Chatham Grammar School for Boys, New Horizons Primary, Portsmouth Academy for Girls, and Gordon Academy. (more news on this one shortly). 

Kent is commissioning five new academies for September 2015, paid for with the government's Targeted Basic Need Fund.

These are at:

 Kings Hill, Leybourne Chase and Holborough Lakes in Snodland, all sponsored by the Valley Invicta Academy Trust;

East Folkestone,  sponsored by Lilac Sky Academy Trust;

Thistle Hill on the Isle of Sheppey, sponsored by Oasis Community Learning. This last fits in with Oasis having taken over the sponsorship of Isle of Sheppey Academy and will presumably lead to a close relationship between the two.

Last modified on Monday, 10 September 2018 23:42

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