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Turner Free School in Folkestone bids for temporary classrooms

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Folkestone's newest secondary school has put in a bid for temporary classrooms, as part of its expansion plans.

Turner Free School (TFS), which recently released new images of how its new main school building could look once constructed, has applied to Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) for four temporary classrooms.

The study halls would be arranged in two two-storey blocks, with the intention of being in place for two years.

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How the new building at Turner Free School could look. Pictures: Turner Schools Trust
How the new building at Turner Free School could look. Pictures: Turner Schools Trust

A planning statement on the FHDC website states: "The project is required to enable the redevelopment of the site for a new purpose-build secondary school."

It adds the temporary application will allow pupils and staff to 'decant' for lessons, while other building work takes place.

Pupils, who currently study in the refurbished former Pent Valley Leisure Centre building, will be able to make use of the permanent facilities once they are built, including a lecture theatre.

The proposed new dining area
The proposed new dining area

School chiefs anticipate this will allow pupils to learn in a 'university style' for some of the time, in preparation for further education.

The Department for Education (DfE) has agreed the vision for the facility - which is still in the design stage - on Tile Kiln Lane, run by the Turner Schools Trust.

There will also be modern design technology spaces, which Turner Schools plans to use to support budding designers and engineers.

How the new lecture hall could look
How the new lecture hall could look

The plans also include new sporting facilities, including a new multi-use games area and a new full-size pitch for football and hockey.

The new building will have space for dining facilities, so staff and students can sit down and eat lunch together.

The school became the first new secondary school in the town for a decade when it inducted its first 120 pupils last year.

The designs include new sports and DT facilities
The designs include new sports and DT facilities

The non-selective school will have an overall capacity of 1,080 once full, including sixth formers.

About 260 applications were received for the 120 places on offer for the last academic year, while there will be an intake of 180 pupils this September.

Turner Schools' bid was one of two submitted to the government to take over the Pent Valley site, the other from Swale Academies Trust, headed up by Kent 'superhead' Jon Whitcombe who was brought in to run Pent Valley after previous head Mario Citro was removed from his position in April 2015.

The school has applied to build temporary classrooms
The school has applied to build temporary classrooms

It followed a Kent County Council (KCC) inspection after poor exam results the previous summer.

KCC announced in December 2015 it was planning to close Pent Valley amid rising debts and falling pupil numbers.

Talking about the new building designs, set to open in September 2020, Dr Jo Saxton, CEO of Turner Schools, said: "We're excited to reach the next stage of development for our new building.

WATCH: Turner Free School opens in Folkestone

"The Turner Free School has already got off to a flying start and we are oversubscribed for the second year running.

"Ms Yates and her team are delivering a powerful education and it’s wonderful that our new school building will now match that quality.”

Principal Kristina Yates said: "This is a really positive step towards our permanent building.

"Everyone is excited by the plans and really looking forward to moving into our new home.

"I am so proud of the work to establish excellent teaching and a strong culture for learning at our existing school site but the new building will help us take this to the next level."

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

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