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Turner Schools joins with Folkestone Academy, Folkestone School for Girls and King's School, Canterbury

By Sam Lennon

A schools trust is joining three secondary schools in a new partnership.

And Folkestone philanthropist Roger De Haan is retiring as chairman of one of those schools.

Canterbury-based Turner Schools has joined forces with Folkestone Academy, the King’s School, Canterbury and Folkestone School for Girls.

Folkestone Academy.
Folkestone Academy.

This is with immediate effect.

Prof Carl Lygo and Dr Jo Saxton of Turner Schools say that evidence across the country shows that schools and their pupils thrive working in partnership and it is particularly important at a time of budget reductions.

Under the new collaboration, Prof Lygo, who is chairman of Turner Schools, will succeed Sir Roger De Haan as chairman of Folkestone Academy.

Prof Lygo said: “Through partnership working, we will put the young people of Folkestone first. Together we are determined to ensure that Folkestone becomes synonymous with success without selection.”

Dr Saxton said: “I am delighted to accept the invitation of Sir Roger and the Trustees to work with Folkestone Academy, developing existing partnerships – specifically with the King’s School Canterbury and The Folkestone School for Girls.

“Together we will serve the community with passion and integrity, and together we will deliver our new free school in Folkestone.”

Turner Schools is a new academic trust, sponsoring two primary schools and recently approved to open a new non-selective secondary school to serve the families of Folkestone.

Roger De Haan.
Roger De Haan.

Sir Roger welcomed the arrival of Prof Lygo and Dr Saxton, who becomes chief executive of Folkestone Academy.

He announced his retirement yesterday in a letter to Folkestone Academy parents.

He wrote: “After many years of involvement with Folkestone Academy I have decided to retire from my position as sponsor and chair of governors.

“I should like to take this opportunity to express my thanks for the considerable support I have received as chairman from my fellow governors particularly Trevor Minter, Richard Fraser and Ros McCarthy who are also stepping down at this time.

“I should also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the broader school community, including teaching and ancillary staff, parents and pupils.

“I look forward to maintaining close links with the Academy including through the endowment fund that we set up to help provide support.”

The Folkestone Academy opened in 2007 in a £37 million investment and Sir Roger had given £2 million of his own money as sponsor.

He had been lobbying the government to set up an academy in Folkestone over the previous five years.

Sir Roger was the boss of the Folkestone-base Saga group of companies for 20 years from 1984.

The benefactor has poured in millions of pounds to regenerate his home town of Folkestone.

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