Plans for a new Margate secondary at the former Royal School for Deaf Children site have been officially shelved.
Kent County Council has confirmed it now wants to expand existing schools in Thanet including Ursuline College and King Ethelbert’s School with a temporary expansion planned at the Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate.
The u-turn was effected by former council leader, Paul Carter on October 17.
The proposal had originally been to open this year at the former Walmer School site with 150 pupils and then transfer to the new build in 2020 with pupil numbers predicted to double and the school roll having students from Year 7-Year 9. By 2022/23 the school was to have had 690 pupils enrolled.
This timing was then moved back, according to KCC’s 2019-2023 education commissioning plan, which proposed the school opening in temporary accommodation in 2020 with 120 Year 7 places, and in 2021 on the new site.
The move was to tackle a predicted shortfall of 309 Year 7 places in Thanet by 2022/23 if no action is taken. Across years 7-11 this could mean a shortage of 1256 places by 2022/23.
Two initial applications for sponsors of the school did not receive consent from the Department for Education as part of its free schools programme.
Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council, said: “On Thursday, October 17, the then Leader of Kent County Council (Paul Carter) approved a variation to the existing school place planning in Thanet. The decision effectively reversed a previous decision made by the council, to establish a new secondary school on the former Royal School for Deaf Children site in Margate, by terminating an Academy Presumption process published in November 2017.
“Instead the intention is to permanently expand Ursuline College in Westgate and King Ethelbert’s School in Birchington and permit a temporary expansion at Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate. The final decision will be made by the Department for Education and will be subject to normal KCC and statutory school consultations.”
The decision could still be reversed by the Department for Education.