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Invicta among UK top ten for GCSE results


A MAIDSTONE school was among the top 10 in the coun- try in last year’s GCSE results. According to data published


by the Department for Educa- tion in January, Invicta Gram- mar School was the only school in the Maidstone area where 100% of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grade GCSEs including English and maths.


Invicta, in Huntsman Lane,


also scored highly in the Gov- ernment’s new English Bac- calaureate benchmark, which involves pupils achieving five or more A* to C grade GCSEs in- cluding English, maths, a sci- ence, a language and a humanity such as geography or history. Sixty-seven percent of Invicta pupils achieved this target. At CornwallisAcademy,Lin-


ton, 55% of pupils gained five or more A* to C grade GCSEs including English and maths. At Linton Park School the figures were 71% and 29%. Maidstone Grammar, Barton Road, had a 97% pass rate in the first category and an im- pressive 85% met the English Baccalaureate criteria. At Maidstone Grammar for


Girls in Buckland Road the numbers were 99% and 52%. Maplesden Noakes in Buck- land Road achieved 55% and New Line Learning Academy, Boughton Lane, gained 40%. Oakwood Park Grammar got


99% and 44%; St Augustine Academy gained 39%; St Simon Stock Catholic School, Oakwood Park, achieved 57% and 9%and Sutton Valence got 82% and 47%. Finally, Swadelands in Lenham achieved 58% and 5% and Valley Park, Huntsman Lane, got 60% and 3%. Across the whole of Kent 61% of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades and nationally the figure was 59%.


Vandalism costs


parish dear MINDLESS vandals have led to Bearsted Parish Council pursu- ing a costly insurance claim. Three quotes have been ob- tained for the repair and re- placement of lights in Church Landway, which have been re- peatedly wrecked by vandals. The low-level lighting cost £18,000 to install – a significant amount of money for a parish council with limited funds. More costly options were not considered necessary, as the area had never previously suf- fered from vandalism, the council heard. Once repaired, the police will continue to monitor the area and are looking at using CCTV to catch the culprits.


18 East


Town parking could be cut


A TOTAL of 171 town centre car parking spaces will be lost if Maidstone Council gets plan- ning permission to demolish the King Street multi-storey car park.


Downs Mail reported last year


that the council’s cabinet had agreed to demolish the 239- space car park after structural engineers said it was in need of urgent repairs to prevent it from collapsing. A planning application seeks


to replace the 1970s building with a surface level 68-space car park. A supporting statement said: “The existing structure is a rather imposing monolithic


WEDDING belles are flocking back to Bearsted, as the church gets set to celebrate a record year for couples whowant to tie the knot. More than 20 weddings have


been booked at Holy Cross Church in 2013 – the most since civil ceremonies were intro- duced in 2005. At one time, numbers dropped into single figures as couples opted for the secular ceremonies offered by local ho- tels, castles and barns. But Bearsted vicar Rev John Corbyn believes couples have become disillusioned with the


pacity will be sufficient for the needs. However, continued rev- enue from the site in these times is highly desirable. “The layout of the site has


building of mainly concrete construction that many con- sider to be somewhat visually unpleasing. “Recent surveys undertaken by


MBC have shown that the town hasmore than adequate car park- ing provision, so a reduced ca-


shorter, informal ceremonies and are now returning to the more traditional marriage serv- ice, with the blessing of the church. He said: “Whether couples


have a previous interest in the church or not, they want a serv- ice which will be memorable – not a quick exchange of words which is over in the blink of an eye.” The Church of England has


made it easier for couples to qualify for a church wedding by relaxing its residence rules. In the past, one or both parties had to live in the parish where


Golfing challenge against clock KEEN golfers are invited to take part in a speed golf tournament at Tudor Park Hotel in Bearsted. Club professional,


Jason Muller, and direc- tor of golf, Fraser Liston, attempted to play 18 holes in less than two hours to raisemoney for charity. In fact, they sped round the champi- onship golf course in just 100 minutes, mak- ing it back to the club house in time for break- fast – a new local record. They were sponsored


by club members and raised money for the Heart of Kent Hospice, the hotel’s charity of the year, bringing the an- nual total raised so far to £1,200. Now the club is launching a public speed golf challenge at Tudor


Jason Muller, left, and Fraser Liston, with Karen Martin, Tudor Park’s charity fundraising organiser


Park’s annual open golf day onWednesday,March 13. The open day is free to all visitors, but tee-times need to be booked in advance by calling 01622 739412.


Dog owners warned to clear up


DOG owners in Bearsted could find themselves falling foul of the law if they fail to scoop pets’ poop. With dog fouling once again


on the increase, the parish council’s dog warden is to step up calls to clean up, with posters and a “bag and flag” campaign.


Leaving dog mess tied up in yellow bags around the streets serves to highlight the extent of the problem, the council was told. In the meantime, residents finding offending piles of ‘poop’ should report them to Maid- stone Council, who would turn out and remove them.


To contact Downs Mail just phone 01622 630330


been arranged to maximise the number of car parking bays available to facilitate a new bet- ter-positioned access point to the site from King Street.” Demolition of the car park is estimated to cost £500,000, while repairs to extend the life of the car park by a further 10 years would have come to £700,000. The council’s planning com- mittee will determine the appli- cation.


A record year for church weddings


they wanted to get married, but now, partners with a long-stand- ing church connection – such as parents or grandparents, or who were baptised or confirmed there – are eligible to be married at the church. Before, they needed a special licence from the bishop. Rev Corbyn said: “Although


the need for a special licence may have put a few people off, in the scale of things the cost and paperwork is probably minor. But the numbers of peo- ple coming back to the church are quite remarkable and is a move to be welcomed.”


Games area A NEW multi-use games area (Muga) may be established on the playing field at Roseacre Junior School, The Landway, Bearsted. The facility would be con- tained by 3m fencing and would be further screened by trees and earth banks. A statement added: “The school has the benefit of several other external play areas includ- ing playgrounds, trim trail, a full-size netball court and infor- mal gardens and play areas. The Muga will occupy an under- utilised part of the playing area.” KCC will determine whether the facility can be built.


Pharmacy agreed MAIDSTONE Council has granted planning permission for a new pharmacy at Penen- den Heath PostOffice in Boxley Road. Consent was also granted for a new shop front and rear extension that will enable the post office to be moved back and a central area created for the pharmacy.


Wall to be replaced THE Diocese of Canterbury has been given permission to re- place a ragstone wall to the front of The Vicarage and North House in Church Lane, Bearsted. The scheme relates to properties close to Holy Cross Church.


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