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Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00

New Secondary Free School proposed for Maidstone

Valley Invicta Academy Trust (VIAT) is considering opening a new Free School in September 2017 on the site of its two secondary schools, Valley Park school and Invicta Grammar School. It would be called the Maidstone School of Science and Technology, specialising in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and is proposed initially to take in four classes of entry, or 120 students.  

The school is currently consulting on the proposal, asking people to email in to or attend an open evening at Valley Park School on 1st October.

According to Kent Online, the application is in response to a projected shortfall of places in Maidstone. This proposal comes just a week after publication of the Kent Schools Commissioning Plan, which shows KCC will be looking for 6 further classes of secondary provision for 2018 in the Maidstone District. It is not at present clear if this proposal has the support of Kent County Council, although permission and finance would be granted by central government, not KCC.

The Trust must be hoping for more success than its previous venture, the abortive attempt to run the proposed grammar school annex at Sevenoaks. This was a proposal that was seriously flawed because of the distance between the two sites, as there was no way Invicta and the annex could share the same admission criteria. Equally important Invicta, being a girls’ grammar school, was not able to run a mixed gender annex for the same reasons. After other attempts to set up an annex in Sevenoaks, Weald of Kent Grammar is now consulting on a girls' annex on the site, although it is boys' places that the area is desperately short of. 

Maidstone and Malling districts currently have ten non-selective secondary schools in the Maidstone area, but four of these: Holmesdale Technology College, Malling School, New Line Learning Academy and St Augustine’s Academy had 193 Year Seven vacancies between them on secondary allocation day in March. This number will have increased considerably following reallocation and appeals to more popular schools and grammar schools.

As well as its two secondary schools, VIAT took over Aylesford Primary School as a sponsored academy in March, the school being in Special Measures. Sadly, the headteacher, Mr Mark Geadah, committed suicide last month.  

The Valley Invicta Academy Trust has also been commissioned by KCC to open three further primary academies, all with SEN Units, in September 2015. These are at: Kings Hill; Holborough Lakes; and Leybourne Chase, all areas of major building development. 


Last modified on Saturday, 20 September 2014 19:09

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