Published: 00:00, 20 January 2017
| Updated: 12:54, 20 January 2017
The trust behind the Ebbsfleet Academy is spearheading plans to build a new secondary school on a plot of disused farmland.
Last month the Messenger reported that Dartford council had approved the sale of an area known as Stone Lodge in the hope of seeing a school, a housing development, and a new home for Dartford Valley Rugby Club built on it.
Representatives of the Brook Learning Trust met people at the nearby bowls and social club in Stone Lane on Saturday to seek feedback on its proposal, which would see a school open with an initial 120 places in 2019.
Chief executive Carol Morris said: “The Brook Learning Trust met with members of the local community to seek their views on additional secondary non-selective education provision in Dartford.
“The event was well attended and demonstrated much support for the provision of a new school characterised by high aspirations, where academic excellence is supported through care, encouragement and reward.”
Ebbsfleet Academy principal Alison Colwell was also at the meeting, although no indication has been given as to whether she would also be tasked with leading the new school.
Ofsted’s most recent inspection of Ebbsfleet Academy came in September, which resulted in a good report praising its leadership, the quality of teaching, and the development of its pupils.
The school has also made headlines for the head’s strict stance on uniform, with a number of girls sent home on the first day back this month due to the shortness of their skirts.
Dartford council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) has spoken of how “desperately needed” a new school in Stone is, in addition to the new houses and rugby facilities. Speaking at a cabinet meeting last month, he said: “We are foregoing what would have been a larger profit if the site had been sold for housing.
“We are doing the right thing for the next generation of Dartfordians and providing a new school. Education provision at Stone is desperately needed.”
Planning documents approved at the cabinet meeting suggested any new school would eventually house 1,200 pupils aged between 11 and 16, with another 360 pupils for post-16 study.
It would sit right next to a new home for the rugby club, which was promised a new ground and clubhouse during the Conservatives’ 2015 council election campaign, with more than £1 million pledged to find them a new home in the borough.
Two hundred homes could also be built, with the remaining space for recreational use.