The £18 Million Dream
As many will have seen in the local press, multi-million pound plans to transform the school have been given the go-ahead – all we need now is around £18 million to achieve this goal.
We were told on Thursday 5th April that the hybrid planning application had been approved by Swale Council’s planning officers. In essence this means that we have approval for our detailed plans for phase 1 of this 4 phase project and outline permission for the other 3 phases. Phase 1 will see the construction of a 16 classroom teaching block for Mathematics and English, including a new entrance to the school, with the other phases including a new sixth form centre, teaching block and sports hall.
Currently 65% of our students are taught in temporary buildings. The aim is by the end of all the phases there won’t be a single temporary building on the site. We submitted a funding application on 23rd March for capital funding from central government for the first phase. We did apply for it last year on the same plans but because getting the project approved was going to take well over a year they couldn’t give it to us. We won’t know until late May if we’ve got it. If we do, we hope to start work on 12th August. I’m very optimistic. We’ve had little investment in buildings for a long time and this ticks all the boxes for things like core subjects and replacing temporary classrooms. It will be business as usual when work starts despite enquiries from some students as to whether they would be given a year off! A number of temporary classrooms will be moved away from where the new building is going and removed altogether upon completion.
Parents and others who have a long association with the school will know that we have been disappointed in the past in terms of capital funding, most significantly by the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future project. Whilst there are never any guarantees I am confident that the granting of planning permission, which lasts for an initial period of three years, will enable us to move forward with our plans during this timescale, and that money will be forthcoming to enable us to realise our goals.
Alan Brookes, Headteacher
To view our plans please click the image below to see a short film or alternatively download the attached PDF.