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Headteacher of Newington Community Primary School launches petition for new secondary school at Ramsgate site

The headteacher of a Ramsgate primary rated outstanding by Ofsted has launched a petition to provide secondary education at the site.

Cliff Stokes is calling on education chiefs at Kent County Council to support his bid for Newington Community Primary School to be an all-through school, up to the age of 16.

Headteacher of Newington Community Primary School Cliff Stokes (20609424)
Headteacher of Newington Community Primary School Cliff Stokes (20609424)

The primary, rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2017, currently provides for children aged between four and 11 at the site in Princess Margaret Avenue.

Two years ago, Mr Stokes appealed to the government to open secondary provision under the free school scheme, offering a "balanced education programme" for up to 600 students in year groups of 120 from years seven to 11.

Despite support from the community and MP Craig Mackinlay this was turned down.

Now, Mr Stokes has relaunched his campaign and started a petition which has already exceeded the target of 1,000 signatures.

"We believe it would be in the best interests of the children of our school if they were able to stay at Newington CP School until the age of 16," he said.

Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate (20609426)
Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate (20609426)

"This will give the children the best opportunity to achieve their potential during their school years.

"We need to influence Kent County Council to support us in building a secondary element to our school which would give our children continuity and consistency of provision in a school where they are safe and secure and will be driven to succeed."

Mr Stokes, who will present the petition to KCC next week, says an all-through school would provide consistency, not just in education but in relationships too.

"These children will have known each other for 11 years by the time they reach their final year," he said.

"The school will have a true understanding of each individual.

'If we run an all-through school we could do fabulous things with our pupils and achieve outstanding GCSE results' - Cliff Stokes.

"I think we do a fabulous job with our pupils. They leave us at the age of 11 but if we run an all-through school we could do fabulous things with them and achieve outstanding results at GCSE."

Mr Stokes says all children who join in reception will automatically carry on into the secondary part of the school.

KCC has been pushing for more secondary education in Thanet with plans to open a new school on the former Royal School for Deaf Children site in Margate.

But last week it emerged the proposal was being ditched.

It would have been a six-form academy with a roll of 690 pupils and open by September 2022.

The Royal School for Deaf Children and Westgate College, Victoria Road, Margate
The Royal School for Deaf Children and Westgate College, Victoria Road, Margate

Explaining the U-turn, former KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter said school rolls have not grown as forecast in Thanet, principally due to low rates of housing development, while financially it would mean the local authority could save at least £10.3m.

The local education authority is now seeking to permanently expand Ursuline College in Westgate and King Ethelbert's School in Birchington.

New council leader Roger Gough (Con) said his new administration is also hoping to permit a temporary expansion to Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate until 2024.

To sign the petition click here.

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