Home   Folkestone   News   Article

Pent Valley College in Folkestone closure proposal announced by Kent County Council

Education bosses have revealed they want to close a failing Kent school.

Kent County Council today announced it plans to consult over closing Pent Valley Technology College in Folkestone.

The school could close as early as next September amid falling attendance, rising debts and low exam results.

Pent Valley College, Folkestone
Pent Valley College, Folkestone

Patrick Leeson, KCC's corporate director of education and young people's services, said the plans have been announced because of "very low pupil numbers" which "does not look likely to improve in the future".

If the closure goes ahead in September 2016, it will not be taking any new pupils and all years except the current Year 10 would be moved to other schools in Folkestone, the county council says.

This would mean pupils moving into Year 11 next year would be able to complete their GCSEs at Pent Valley with some staff retained.

A full closure could then take effect in September 2017.

The school could close as early as next September. Picture: Simon Burchett
The school could close as early as next September. Picture: Simon Burchett

Students in Year 11 are set to receive help in applying to sixth forms, colleges or training providers for their post 16 studies.

Meanwhile, current year 12 students will also be supported in finding new places to complete their courses, the council said.

Mr Leeson today wrote to parents informing them of the closure plans but insisted no decision has been made.

He said: "This has come about because the school has very low pupil numbers, which is a situation that does not look likely to improve in the near future.

"As a result the school has a rapidly reducing budget and will not have the resources to provide an adequate education for its pupils. At the same time the school is performing poorly.

"Looking to the future, we recognise that we will need to have some secondary school provision in the area.

“As it is forecast that there will be a need for additional school places from 2018, it is expected that a new school would need to open on the Pent Valley site by September of that year.

“We aim to have a fresh start, with a new offer for parents and children.

“We clearly appreciate that you will have many questions to which you need answers.

Kent County Council's education director Patrick Leeson
Kent County Council's education director Patrick Leeson

“We will provide these as soon as we are able to do so. The first thing is to explain to you the process and timetable, which will give you a better idea of when you will receive information, how you can make your views known, and when decisions will be made.”

County councillors on KCC's education and young person's cabinet will consider a report next Tuesday.

The first meeting for parents will be held later that evening between 5.30pm and 7pm at the school.

There are just 43 pupils in Year 7 at Pent Valley Technology College and Sports Academy compared with 122 in Year 11 out of a possible intake of 240 pupils per year.

The council revealed that the school has places for 180 pupils in each year group.

The school’s results have plummeted to 15% of students achieving five GCSE’s graded A*to C, including English and maths.

This is below the results achieved in any year since 2004, and far below the government’s floor target of 40%.

Folkestone and Hythe MP, Damian Collins, said "radical steps" would be required after the school's "dramatic decline" in recent years.

He said: "One of the consequences of the falling results has been parents choosing other schools for their children.

Damian Collins
Damian Collins

“A further consequence of the falling number of students attending is that the school is falling deeper into debt.

“Clearly this is not sustainable and radical steps are required."

Mr Collins added that on the current trend the school would rack up £1 million debts "in the next couple of years".

But Mr Leeson added: “We cannot stress enough that no decision has yet been made. This is a regrettable, but necessary proposal that county councillors need to consider.

“We are writing individually to all parents about each of their children. Your letter will be posted direct to your home address. If you have more than one child in the school you will receive more than one letter."

A timetable has been set out for the consultation.

On January 6, a consultation document will be sent out if the consultation continues confirming the date of a public meeting which will explain details of the proposal and give parents a chance to ask questions.

In mid-February consultation responses will be considered and a public notice issued about whether to close the school which comments are welcomed and will be considered.

At the end of March or in early April the final decision will be made on whether the school closes for good.

Parents with questions about admissions can call KCC's admissions team on 03000 412121.

For further questions about the plans parents can call Lee Round, KCC's area schools organisation officer, on 03000 412309.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More