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Head teacher Richard Owen looks forward to big Maplesden Noakes School expansion

Maplesden Noakes School looks set to expand.

Its governors, in liaison with Kent County Council, have launched a consultation asking parents their views on proposals to expand the school in Buckland Road, Maidstone, from 180 Year 7 entry places to 240 by September 2021 - ie from six classes to eight classes.

With an extra 60 new starters each year, the school would grow incrementally over a five-year period until it catered for 1,200 pupils.

Head teacher Richard Owen with some of his pupils: Jerimiah, Ben, Emily and Farjana
Head teacher Richard Owen with some of his pupils: Jerimiah, Ben, Emily and Farjana

Expansion will be accommodated by a new three-storey building, where the school's language huts are currently, plus a new learning resource centre and a study area in the six form quadrangle.

The canteen will also expand to cater for the extra mouths to feed.

The governors say class sizes will be no larger than at present as extra teaching staff will be recruited.

KCC is forecasting a growing demand for secondary school places in Maidstone as a result of planned housing expansion and is anticipating a shortfall of 429 non-selective places by 2023 if no action were taken.

The existing school off Buckland Road, Maidstone
The existing school off Buckland Road, Maidstone

Maplesden's head teacher Richard Owen said KCC had turned to the school for help because "our reputation has gone from strength to strength in recent years and this has gone hand in hand with our increasing popularity and success."

Maplesden Noakes was judged "good" by Ofsted at its last inspection in November.

Parents and prospective parents will be able to attend a drop-is session to explain the proposals at at the school on Wednesday, March 6, between 4pm and 7pm.

One aspect of concern is likely to be the effect of traffic congestion and parking.

In addition to seeking the parents' views, the school governors will need to gain planning permission for the proposals.

The school already accepted an additional 30 students last September over and above its planned admission number.

Mr Owen said: "This is such an exciting development for our school and will ensure that our environment becomes something that we can all be even more proud of.

"We are determined to ensure that all of the features that make Maplesden so special such as our individual care and support are even more prominent and investment in additional staff will ensure that every student still feels part of a close-knit and caring community."

Details of how to respond to the consultation can be found here.

Responses must be received by Monday, March 25.

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