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Parents sign up to school plan

JUBILEE Church says it is about two-thirds of the way towards securing funding to open a new primary school inMaidstone. The church hopes to have its planned free school up and run- ning by September 2014, but must get 120 parents to register an interest to receive govern- ment funding. It is about 40 people away from that target. The positive reaction from parents, who can register their interest on the church’swebsite, makes up for a relatively poor turnout at a public meeting, ac- cording to Neil Pattison, amem- ber of the board for the new school. Only about a dozen families attended the meeting at Maid- stone Leisure Centre, but Mr Pattison believed that was be- cause a location for the school cannot be decided until funding has been secured. Mr Pattison, also amember of Jubilee Church, said: “It’s going really well. The number of fam- ilies represented at the meeting was not a reflection of the de- sire for the school. If we knew where it was going to be located we could be very much more targeted in our marketing.” The proposal for the new

school has proved particularly popular in the Bearsted area, where there is strong competi- tion for primary school places, school spokesman Barbara Faulkner said. At the meeting, parents quizzed the team on how the school’s admissions process would work and were excited about the proposed focus on the creative arts and sport, Mr Pat- tison said. The school will be open to children from all faiths and backgrounds, but will use a Christian ethos to promote good behaviour. The children will be involved

in the local community and will be able to use a woodland area owned by the church. The school will startwith two reception classes, for four-year- olds, and possibly a year one class for five and six-year-olds if it can get even more parents to register an interest. The school would then grad-

ually expand until it catered for up to year six – 10 and 11-year- olds. The steering group is working

with the New Schools Network (NSN) to finalise its application for funding, which will be sub- mitted this month.

Dr John Norman and mayor Rodd Nelson-Gracie with Pollyanna and Victoria, daughters of Dr Hamish Hutchinson

Chronic pain unit back in town MAIDSTONE’Ssuccessful campaign forareturn of the chronic pain unit to the local hospital was celebrated with an official re-opening cere- mony.

Protestsby patientsandvolunteerdrivers led toacampaignbyMASH

(Maidstone Action for Services in Hospital), at a time when women’s and children’s services were also being transferred to the new Tun- bridgeWells Hospital in Pembury. The hospital trust promised to react, and has been true to itsword by

transforming the former maternity delivery area. Maidstone is nowthe trust hub for chronic pain, and a team of about

20 (including four consultants) nowtreat about 130 patients Mondays to Fridays. There are clinics too at Pembury and Sevenoaks. Many patients have lower back and leg or nerve-related pain or re-

quire palliative treatment for cancer. MaidstonemayorCllrRoddNelson-Gracie performedtheopening cer-

emony at the unit, named after the late Dr Hamish Hutchinson, con- sultant in anaesthesia and pain management (1979-2008). His daughters Pollyanna and Victoria unveiled his photo accompanied by Dr John Norman, trust clinical lead for chronic pain.




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