Published: 12:13, 28 September 2021
| Updated: 15:10, 28 September 2021
Some pupils have only three months left at High Weald Academy, after the school's shock closure was announced yesterday.
The Cranbrook secondary school, which has 276 pupils, will close after consistently receiving poor Ofsted reports and amidst low pupils numbers.
Leigh Academies Trust announced yesterday that the establishment would close after this academic year, and that Year 7-10 pupils will be offered places at one of their other schools- Mascalls Academy in Paddock Wood.
However, a letter sent to parents today from principal Nigel Jones, confirms that Year 10 students will only be taught at High Weald Academy until the end of December 2021.
Provision has been made for Year 10 students to start at Mascalls Academy in January.
Explaining this decision, Mr Jones said: "The reason for closing Year 10 and moving pupils at the end of this December is so that pupils can have the longest possible preparation at Mascalls for their GCSE exams in 2023 and remain together as a year group.
"This will amount to five full terms at Mascalls to give them the best chance to settle into their new school and engage with their studies so they can maximise their grades.
"If they moved in September 2021, when it would be the start of their Year 11, then they would experience much more disruption and have much less time still available to settle in and prepare at Mascalls for their GCSE exams."
There will be an information event for Year 10 pupils, and parents and students can visit Mascalls to familiarise themselves with the site.
Year 10 parents wishing to send their children to a different school will receive guidance later today from Kent or East Sussex Councils about how to do so.
Years 7, 8 and 9 will continue to attend High Weald Academy until the end of the academic year. Again, parents wishing not to send their child to Mascalls should "follow the advice" from the local councils.
Year 11 students will sit their exams at High Weald Academy and leave at the end of the academic year.
There are no sixth form students currently at the school.
Parents have until Friday, October 22 to accept or reject a place at Mascalls Academy.
Mascalls uniform will be provided free of charge to pupils moving there from High Weald Academy.
Leigh Academies Trust (LAT) took over running the school from Brook Learning Trust, following a merger of the two this September.
In a statement, LAT said the school has "struggled with low Ofsted ratings and educational outcomes for some time."
It went on: "Despite the amazing efforts of staff and the support of parents, very low pupil numbers and the financial pressures that brings have made it challenging to turn the school around."
"The Secretary of State for Education has taken the decision to proceed to close the school by mutual agreement with LAT.
"We know this will be worrying news for pupils, parents and the wider community but we hope the proposed approach to closure will help minimise the disruption for families."
Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant says she "strongly opposes" the closure and has urged others to raise their objections following the announcement.