Swan Valley School was the first PFI funded school to be built in Kent, followed by six others: Aylesford School; Ellington School, Ramsgate; Holmesdale Technology College, Snodland; Hugh Christie Technology College, Tonbridge; The Malling School and The North School, Ashford.
Naturally, I wondered if the same constraint applied to these, and of the six I discovered that Holmesdale Technology College and The Malling School submitted an application to become a Federated academy exactly two years ago, but there is no progress reported on their website, although most applications go through in about four months. Also, governors of The North School planned to apply to become an academy in April 2011, but did not take this further; and there is no indication of the other three schools applying to become academies, perhaps being wary of the PFI issues.
Kent County Council, in a letter to Kent on Sunday, makes clear they are unhappy about having to make up the affordability gap for schools which would no longer be their responsibility and for which they would receive no income, depriving children attending schools still run by the council of much needed funds for their education. As a result there appears to be an impasse between government and the KCC over the four schools wishing to become academies.
In the interests of the children in KCC maintained schools, one can only hope that Kent County Council maintains its position, and continues to block these applications until it is free of the debt burden it has incurred in providing new school buildings now handed over to government control. Otherwise the education of these children will see further financial cuts, the funds moving to the further benefit of those in academies.
You will find a copy of the Kent on Sunday news report here.