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25 February 2014, 18:11
The Chaucer School n Canterbury is to close in a phased operation. Read the statement from Kent County Council below.
Kent County Council has, with regret, announced a proposal that would see the Chaucer Technology School in Canterbury close.
Individual letters explaining the proposal has been sent to parents of all 609 pupils. The letter will also include information about alternative school provision.
Each pupil currently in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 is being offered a place at an alternative secondary school from September 2014. Those currently in Year 10 will continue to be educated on the Chaucer site as they complete their GCSE courses. Pupils currently in Year 11 and Year 12 will also get help with finding places at school, in college or in work with training.
Falling pupil numbers have left the school particularly vulnerable, with the reduction in children on roll meaning that there is not enough funding to provide the necessary breadth of curriculum and minimum teaching staff.
Pupils who live more than three miles away from their allocated school will receive help with transport, in line with the council's policy on home-to-school transport - and help will also be made available for school uniform.
Roger Gough, KCC Cabinet member for education and health reform, said: ?Any decision to close a school is taken with a heavy heart and is only ever the very last resort. As ever, the council is committed to making sure that children are taught in the most effective environment and get the best possible education.
"Since the inadequate Ofsted inspection report a year ago the school has been doing well and making good improvements under the strong leadership of the Swale Academies Trust. Recent GCSE results show that there has been an improvement in attainment. Many people recognise the improvements the school has made over recent months and these improvements will continue regardless of the consultation process. The local authority, the school and Swale Academies Trust will continue to work together to secure a good education for current pupils.
"However the future of the school depends on being able to provide the resources that children need in the longer term. With numbers dropping, the school is no longer viable - it does not have enough pupils to bring in the funding required to provide the resources needed. In this situation, the county council has little option but to find alternative places for the children currently at Chaucer.
"However, given the size of the current Year 10 group - 153 young people - and the improved results this year, the council will work with the school and the Swale Academy Trust to keep this year group together on the Chaucer site to complete their GCSE courses.
"I believe that, while it is particularly unusual to occupy a school with one year group, this will be less disruptive for this group of students than to be spread around other schools in the area.
"At the same time, KCC will carefully consider the future of the site -paying particular attention to the forecasts of future pupil numbers in and around Canterbury."