Home   Folkestone   News   Article

Pent Valley College in Folkestone to reopen as free school by Turner Schools trust

New bosses of Pent Valley College have been announced by the education secretary today.

The job to run a new free school - the first new secondary school in Folkestone for 10 years - has been given to Turner Schools.

The trust already runs two primary schools in Folkestone - Martello Academy and Morehall Academy - and say they will act as "feeders" for the new secondary.

Pent Valley College, Folkestone
Pent Valley College, Folkestone

It comes as education secretary Justine Greening announced 131 new schools across the country creating 69,000 places. In the south east, she announced 27 new schools with 15,000 places.

Pent Valley will close in the summer after the current Year 11 and 13 pupils complete their GCSEs and post-16 qualifications, respectively.

Jo Saxton, chief executive of Turner Schools, said: "This is hugely exciting news for Folkestone – the free school will play a major role in the regeneration of the town.

"We are hugely grateful for the support we have had from the community and local businesses, and especially from the parents of what will be our 'feeder' primaries, Morehall and Martello primaries."

Turner Schools was one of two bids submitted to the government last year, revealed by Kent Online's sister paper, Folkestone & Hythe Express.

The other was from Swale Academies Trust, which is headed up by Kent 'superhead' Jon Whitcombe.

Jo Saxton, chief executive of Turner Schools which has been given the green light by the government to takeover Pent Valley College
Jo Saxton, chief executive of Turner Schools which has been given the green light by the government to takeover Pent Valley College

Mr Whitcombe was brought in to run Pent Valley after previous head Mario Citro was removed from his position in April 2015. It followed a Kent County Council (KCC) inspection after poor exam results the previous summer.

Turner Schools said the new non-selective school - with a working name as Folkestone Free School - will cater for 11 to 18-year-olds and offer the EBacc qualification.

The school will take 120 places in Year 7 when it opens in September 2018. It will have a capacity of 720 pupils.

The trust's bid focused on forging links with major employers in the town such as Saga and Eurotunnel and specialise in modern foreign languages.

Dr Saxton added: “The work starts now to turn our vision into reality, and we look forward to seeing the proposed partnerships with Eurotunnel and others come to life, offering valuable opportunities to our future pupils."

The announcement closes the latest chapter in the long-running saga at the school.

Dozens of protesters join the ranks outside County Hall in February 2016
Dozens of protesters join the ranks outside County Hall in February 2016

KCC announced in December 2015 it was planning to close the school amid rising debts, falling pupil numbers and low exam results.

Parents and pupils protested against the announcement but the nail in the coffin was sealed in March 2016 when KCC councillors voted to formally close the school this summer.

Public protests in Folkestone and outside County Hall in Maidstone showed support for the school and legal action was launched to review KCC's process of announcing the closure. But the judicial review failed to get to the steps of the High Court.


More by this author


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