Four new applicants to become Converter Academies this month: South Borough Primary School in Maidstone; St Albans Road Infant School, Dartford; St Thomas Catholic Primary School, Sevenoaks; and St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary School, Tonbridge. The last two will also be joining the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership. Three primary schools have converted to become academies: Bobbing Village and Iwade Community Primary Schools in Sittingbourne; and Holy Family RC Primary in Maidstone.
The full list of Sponsored Academies whose conversion is in progress is as follows: Archbishop Courtney Primary (Maidstone) - Diocese of Canterbury; Kings Farm Primary (Gravesend) – Gravesend Grammar School; St Edmund’s Catholic School (Dover) – Archdiocese of Southwark; The Ellington and Hereson School (Ramsgate) – The Coastal Academies Trust (previously Dane Court & King Ethelbert Trust); St Mary of Charity CofE (VA) School (Faversham) – Diocese of Canterbury; West Kingsdown CofE VC Primary - Rochester Diocesan Board of Education; Reculver CofE Primary - Diocese of Canterbury; St Francis Catholic Primary (Maidstone) – Archdiocese of Southwark; Rosherville CofE Primary (Rochester Diocesan Board of Education); St Edward’s Catholic Primary (Sheerness) – Archdiocese of Southwark; Knockhall Community Primary (Dartford) – Lilac Sky Academy Trust; Warren Wood Primary (Rochester) – Greenacre Academy Trust; Cuxton Community Junior (Rochester). Kent has also commissioned five new primary schools that will all be sponsored – three by Valley Invicta Academies Trust and two by Lilac Sky Academy Trust, further details of these being elsewhere on the website. You will find a full list of Kent and Medway academies here (although not yet updated).
The proposal for Kings Farm Primary in Gravesend to become a Sponsored Academy under Gravesend Grammar School has now been delayed since Christmas. The headteacher was removed on the last day of the Christmas Term without notice to staff or parents, yet another case apparently in breach of the KCC protocol, as the school was not failing. Since then the school has been run by the head of a neighbouring school, now federated with Gravesend Grammar, the conversion to become an academy being repeatedly postponed.
The new Jubilee Free School in Maidstone has now secured premises for its opening in September in an office block previously used by the Kent Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service(CAMHS). The school is still taking applications for September in its Reception Year. As with other new Free Schools in previous years, applications are independent of the Kent Common Application process and so parents can hold two places until the start of term which makes for great uncertainty with both the Free School and neighbouring primary schools. You will find a previous article here.
The new Leigh University Technical College, specialising in computer science and engineering, and opening in September is now accepting applications, for Years Ten and Twelve entry, although I am told that not all the 150 Year Ten places will be taken up. Certainly, I hear that other local schools are warning off their students who are looking for places on a number of grounds including uncertainty, although the building of the premises on The Bridge Business and Innovation Park in Dartford (the site of the old Joyce Green hospital). There are no admission criteria for 2014 entry, although oversubscription rules, not yet published will almost certainly apply for entry in 2015. Although there is always an inbuilt conservatism from students about changing schools mid-stream, there remains a shortage of boys’ places in Dartford, with many forced out to Ebbsfleet and Oasis Hextable Academies, so I suspect these will be the two schools hit most by the new UTC.