Parents to quiz Kingston Council on smaller secondary school plans
Parents are set to question Kingston Council about its latest plans for a smaller new secondary school tomorrow night.
The school, to be located in the North Kingston Centre, will have just 180 places, with six forms of entry, rather than the initial 240 across eight forms.
North Kingston has a school places crisis, which escalated in 2008 after the council was hit by a rising birth rate and a fall in children in private schools.
The new director of learning and children’s service Nick Whitfield has written to parents telling them the school will be smaller, partly based on places at Grey Court in Richmond.
Councillor Patricia Bamford, Kingston’s lead member for children and young people, said the decrease was based on changed pupil projections.
She said: “There was some opposition to an eight-form of entry school anyway.
"Some people thought it would be too large for the site. We don’t want to waste resources.”
Conservative councillor Dennis Doe said he recommended just six forms back in 2007. He said: “Instead of faffing about as they have been doing for years we have now got a director who says these are the figures, this is how we are going to do it.
“The figures suggest that six forms will be enough in north Kingston.”
But Laurie South, the chairman of Kingston Labour Party, warned if more places were needed, the backlash would be costly. He said: “If you have insufficient classes in a school the fury is going to be just overwhelming. If they get it wrong they deserve all the acrimony that parents can fire upon them.”
Kingston Educational Trust will enter the proposals to the Department for Education for the next round of free school submissions, which close on January 4, next year.
The council had hoped to start building last month, but failed funding bids and the shift to a free school proposal, put the bid back
For an update from the meeting visit this website on Friday.