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Sunday, 18 January 2015 00:00

Stansted Primary School to close

KCC informed parents of children at Stansted CofE Primary School, at a meeting on Thursday, that the school was being considered for closure following a series of poor OFSTED Reports, declining numbers as children were withdrawn from the school and sent elsewhere, and consequent financial difficulties. Stansted is in the Malling area of Kent. 

Stansted

This decision has comes as no surprise, as anticipated when I wrote my previous article below just a week ago, following the latest OFSTED Report,  with OFSTED reporting the number of children having fallen to 35 at the time of the Inspection (it is 34 now). Sadly, the decision to consider closure  is the consequence of bad management and governance at the school, with parents losing confidence with a series of temporary headships, turn-over of teachers, poor teaching, seeing other children removed and overall poor reputation.

KCC has now offered each of the remaining children a place in another school, making the decision to close inevitable. Parents have two weeks to accept or decline the offer. ……..

There were 68 children at Stansted in September 2012, and 58 the following year, so the trend is very clear. I have counselled several parents since the school started going downhill from at least as long ago as 2011, and concerns have been expressed about KCC’s commitment to make the school work, considering the small numbers in the school, as children were removed. OFSTED Reports don’t support this concern however, the most recent one suggesting the school was unwisely resistant to advice, surely the last straw.  

Unfortunately, there are very few places in other local schools apart from West Kingsdown (just out of Special Measures) and Shoreham (still in Special Measures).  Vigo and Culverstone used to have vacancies, but both are now full in most years because of the pressure of numbers across the whole of Gravesham. Sadly, the shortage places in the local area will only be exacerbated by the closure of Stansted but, in a relatively prosperous area, most parents have already been fortunate to be able to exercise other options, with private schools one of the boltholes. Others with their own transport have looked further afield, so that just 6 of the 34 are from the village itself. However, these options should not be relied on and a proper local plan needs to be drawn up to ensure sufficient appropriate local places to cater for children of the village now and in the future. 

Last modified on Monday, 19 January 2015 13:29

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