Published: 12:37, 10 November 2017
A demand is rising to critical status for more secondary school places in Thanet, meaning momentum is gathering for the creating of a new secondary school in Ramsgate as an extension to the existing Newington Primary school, headteacher Cliff Stokes says.
The school would offer a balanced education programme for up to 600 students in year groups of 120 from years seven to 11.
Head teacher Mr Stokes says he sees it as a natural progression for his current pupils, and as an obvious way to help solve the immediate need for secondary places in the district.
He said: “There is real demand form parents and families for quality secondary provision for their children in this part of Ramsgate.
“More secondary places are needed locally, and we can provide outstanding education as a springboard for success for future generations.
“Each year I am asked by pupils preparing to leave our primary school, and their parents, if we can create a continual learning stream that will take them right through to GCSE examinations in year 11.
“They love the Newington way and do not want to leave us.
“Parental choice is key in education and our proposal clearly reflects that demand.
“We would work alongside other secondary schools in the area to complement them and enrich the overall provision of education for children in Thanet.
“One main advantage for a ‘wrap around’ educational journey is that there would be a shared philosophy and ethos to ensure greater consistency around expectations from nursery to year 11.
“In a typical secondary or primary school, you have certain ways of behaving or ways of interacting with each other or staff.
“Having them all the way through is an incredible advantage.
“The children are not moving between different setting with different expectations.
“An all-through school will see teachers from both sectors working together.
“This will raise the game for everyone - children aren’t able to fall through the gaps.”
His words are echoed by parents, governors and others including south Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay.
Following a recent fact-finding tour of the school Mr Mackinlay said: “I am so impressed with what is happening at Newington.
“There is a strong case for education from nursery classes to year 11 and I fully support the idea.”
Chair of governors Lesley Gallagher is an education professional and former head teacher.
She said: “Everyone with an interest in the ongoing development of our school is totally behind the idea.
“The governors are actively investigating avenues to bring this exciting and necessary project to fruition.”
Parent governor Natalie Luddington said: “Children who have gone through the school from reception class have been educated in the Newington way.
“Many children who do not pass their Kent Test find it difficult to adapt to other schools’ ways and then tend not to thrive in the structured way.
“It is of upmost importance to have a secondary school attached to Newington Community Primary School so that children can be guided and nurtured in an educational to which they are accustomed.
“It will given them a better future.”