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School agreed, but pupil numbers cut

THE Jubilee Primary School has been allowed to remain at Gatland House in Fant after Maidstone Council said pupil numbers should be halved to 210. The planning committee origi-

nally deferred an application for up to 420 pupils at the school, which has been operating since Septem- ber 2014 with a temporary consent given to Government free schools. A meeting in March heard there

were 80 public objections and com- mittee members had concerns about parking and traffic, lack of amenities and the faith ethos. But councillors have now sup- ported the proposal after officers emphasised that the site, with its limited amenity space, could only cater for a one-form entry per year. The full capacity should be reached by September 2022. Cllr Dan Daley, a KCC member,

said: “The compromise offered is just and fair, both to the school and to a degree, to the residents – by the reduction in traffic associated with the lower numbers of pupils.” Cllr Paul Harper, one of two committee members to vote against the scheme, said that 61 of the school’s 90 pupils were from the Maidstone area, with 22 of these from Fant, the ward he represents. “This is a very small number,” he said. “Even if this goes ahead we will still need another primary school in the Hermitage Lane area.” Joe Mayatt, a local resident for 52

years, said: “Gatland House was previously a short-term home for vulnerable people who needed res- idential care and had only limited parking requirements. “This will cause parking disrup-

tion and pressure on spaces only solved by parking on nearby roads. The school must ensure on-site parking is provided for staff and residents.” KCC did not object on highways grounds, meaning the committee could not use this as a reason to vote against the scheme. It was granted due to the support of seven members. Cllr Stephen Paine said the pro-

posal had caused a rift in the com- munity in Fant, which he represents. He said: “As a council- lor I now preside over a broken, split and sore community. I have parents writing tomeworried their children will not have a school and I have dozens, dozens and dozens of parents writing to me saying they do notwant the school. “It is an unenviable situation and

we have to work to patch the com- munity back together and fix this.” Neil Pattison, of Jubilee Primary school, said: “Decisions concerning the final size of the school will be made in conjunction with Maid- stone Council, KCC and the De- partment for Education. “We will build on the foundation

of an excellent education for our children and aim at nothing less than an outstanding Ofsted rating.”

Pupils running for success

A CROSS-country club started by aMaidstone primary school teacher has proved a runaway success. SinceWendy Ball started the after class-club and lunchtime training sessions were started at Greenfields Community Primary School in September, her running recruits have taken first place in the Maidstone schools’ cross country races and joint second place at county level. Wendy said: “I’ve been

overwhelmed by the interest the running club has generated. I run with the children to encourage them and they think it’s great fun beating their teacher. “We had more than 40

children competing in the Maidstone races and more children are asking to join.” Their results in the Maidstone Schools’ cross country championships

were: Year 4 Boys – 1st; Year 4 Girls – 1st; individual races: Ethan Smith – 1st; Ollie Collins – 3rd; Violet Smith – 1st ; Ruby Cunliffe – 4th; Ruby Wilson – 5th. And in Ashford Schools’ cross country championships, the Year 4 Girls’ team earned second place and Year 4 boys’ third. In the Kent County Championships, the Year 4 girls’ team took joint second place.


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