Wednesday, May 17, 2006

All Change for Thanet Schools?

Some news just in from one of our readers “The Chalk Face”. Can anyone independently substantiate or confirm the contents of his story; pretty earth-shattering if even partially accurate. The emphasis here is firmly on “discussed” and not “proposed”. He writes:

“You may be interested to hear that a recent meeting was held between the heads of Ellington, Hereson, Chatham House and Clarendon Schools. Some interesting points were apparently discussed including:

* Ellington new school to just be the start of a huge new education centre to be called 'Thanet Campus' which will certainly absorb Hereson and possibly the two grammar schools over the next few years. 2400+ pupils?

* Education consortiums to be created to split the secondary schools into four areas with the following working together.

1. The Thanet Campus as above. Thanet SE

2. Marlow Academy to take in the sixth forms from the two grammar schools. Called Thanet SW.

3. St George's, (photo) Charles Dickens and Dane Court as a consortium called Thanet NE

4. King Ethelberts, Ursuline and Hartsdown as a consortium called Thanet NW

* Ursuline College to lose it's sports college status (to the Thanet Campus?). Sports coaches to be laid off over next twelve months. Sports fields planning turned down, sports hall too expensive. Specialist status of all others to be examined for merger.

* Closure of schools (Ellington, Hereson, Chatham House) and sale of the land to help finance the above (Prime sites, prime prices, prime house building?)

At some stage the staff and governors of these schools may be consulted. As for the parents, well they will just have to put up with Centralised Education!”


Anonymous said...

The reason why we couldn't get hold of application A/TH/06/0240 concerning playing fields, parking space and access that Ursuline College wanted on the fallow Green Wedge between Westgate and Birchington was that it has been withdrawn! The locals objected so vigorously and with a petition that Ursuline has been advised by KCC Planning to rethink proposals. According to KCC Planning Officer they have been asked to reconsider having parking and restricting use to school time only. This of course removes vehicle access through Edward Drive and Marilyn Crescent and gives the locals peace in the evenings and at week-ends. The use envisaged by Ursuline was as a facility with evening and weekend use. What was interesting was the almost despair of the Planning Officer when I asked why these two KCC schools couldn't co-operate on Sports Halls and playing fields. Your photographs show oodles of space between the two schools that is underused by King Ethelberts and its main use seems to be a smoking area for yuf from both schools. When I asked why couldn't KCC Education chief bang heads together of two heads involved, the reply was a long drawn out sigh. I am told the locals feel they have won the first battle but that the 'war' is not won!

Anonymous said...

The wider plan has to be looked at at last.

We have a (proposed)developement of 1,000 homes being built by Carillion Richardson & Gleeson Homes on green field land near to Westwood Cross shopping centre. We have another 800-1,000 homes being built round Salmestone Grange. We have all the homes that old people are vacating to move into retirement flats, with families moving into those homes. We still have all the other developements that are taking place around Thanet, possibly another 1500 homes + for families.

Don't tell me that KCC Education and Thanet Council are finally opening their eyes.

Anonymous said...

A developement of Nonsense or a Cynical View.

So we have a (proposed) developement of 1,00 being built by Carillion Richardson & Gleeson Homes on green field land near to Westwood Cross Shopping Centre. Thirty percent of the housing will be affordable housing. Of this affordable housing we have to ask what percentage will be for local people and what percentage for families being transfered from London Boroughs to enable them to ship out and negate all responsibility for their problems. Have the developers already struck a deal with the London Boroughs so that the developement will go ahead.

On a cynical point. With the influx of so many possible problem families moving into the area, will this deter decent people from shopping at Westwood Cross and thus making another white elephant in the area because the shop/store owners will not tolerate the problems and decide to close down? Canterbury must be laughing as they realise that the decent people will revert to shopping back in their City and with these new homes comes a percentage of decent people wishing to shop in Canterbury.

The developers will pay for the building of a new primary school. Fifty percent being built by the time the 300th home is built with the remainder being built by the end of the developement. How many classrooms will this school have once the housing developement is completed and how many pupils per class? The pupils from this school are expected to move into the existing secondayr schools, namely the Ramsgate Academy, Ellington, Charleds Dickens, Dane Court, and St Georges with the possibility of Hartsdown being in mind. As we already know most of these schools are full at the moment.

The housing market in the area is increasing at such a rapid rate that any sane person can see that the schools will not cope with the demand. Old people are moving out of properties that are too large for them and moving into the hundreds of retirement flats presently or have been built in the whole of Thanet to accommodate them. Families move into these homes so the school population will never fall if anything it will increase.

Have KCC and Thanet Council taken into consideration ALL the new housing developement that is going on and proposed. We have a possibility of another 800-1,000 homes being built on the land round Salmestone Grange (Pipers field known to locals). Will the new school be able to cope with the extra influx of pupils as Garlinge Junior & INfants School are proposing to merge thus making one school redundant and possibly sold for developement, bringing additional housing.

You could now go back to the first and second paragraphs and the same situation arises. Oh forever the cynic

Anonymous said...

Oh forever the cynic, AND SNOB, Anonymous of 1.00 pm. Yours are clearly the politics of exclusion!

James Maskell said...

Piper's that the field exiting onto Nash Road and immediately adjacent to the rear entrance to St Gregory's? The one that used to have cool events during the summer many years ago? Ive not heard of any application for that area from the people who live in that area. Please email me with anything you might have heard. Im interested. Email's on my profile.

Anonymous said...

Hardly suprising that the Ursuline College are losing their supposed sports college status. My daughter in year 10 has never done so little sport! The Duke of Edinburgh Club has gone somewhere else, and all they seem to have is a basketball coach and an outdoor sports minibus driver! Good luck to Thanet campus or whatever they intend to be.

Anonymous said...

Readers might remember the 'swan' KCC heads were invited on to visit the USA in late autumn last year. The buzz word that has been going round since is 'federation' which seems a grander form of consortium. There are already 6th Form consortiums working and giving more choice.
The new idea seems 'bigger is better' with shared resources and 'consortium' in the 'federation' would now go down to KS 4 (the two GCSE years). Quite frankly I think the American Public School system has little to offer us or have our education standards fallen so low?

However, if you look at the new Ellington site and the already fully enclosed land SE of Pysons Road to W. Dumpton, Dumpton and Bromstone, there is clearly space for the new Ellington School to grow and absorb Hereson et al.

We in Ramsgate were frankly amazed about Ursuline Sports status as it has the minimum of sports facilities but we have heard nothing about it losing its status. The sporting facilities at Marlowe are going to be phenomenal when in place.

Anonymous said...

Reply from the cynical Snob toAnonymonus 2:14

The reality is that possibly excessive development will take place within the area whereupon the schools will have to become larger. How many schools within the area have sufficient excess land to cope with the developments needed for schools? Systematic local councilors and KCC have agreed and sold off school playing fields to the detriment and with no thought to future requirements.

The reality again is that Westwood Cross will not be large enough to cope with the increase of population in Thanet hence people will travel to Canterbury to avoid the congestion both of traffic and population. The Westwood Cross Town will have 1,000 homes with roughly four people per house = 4,000 people. Salmstone will have 800 - 1,000 homes lets say 3,200 people + we have a further 2,000 developments = 8,000 people. This is not including the old people who have moved into retirement flats and their homes becoming family homes. Have you realised tha the Silent Gliss is also going to be developed for houses and flats, so, the Westwood Cross Town is not just 1,000 homes it is more like 1,100 homes.

The land around St Georges is all earmarked for housing (Buddles Farm)this was decided years ago.The next farm to possibly go for development will be Somali Farm Westgate/Birchington. Perhaps KCC should look to purchase some of this land for a new school to replace Hartsdown, Ursuline and King Ethelberts. So we have these two sites both being able to produce a further 4,000 + homes. Who do we have to thank for this.

If anonymous 2:14 thinks that I am being unfair to consider local people for affordable housing befor London Borough's then yes I am being unfair. Why should we have to put up with the additional problems caused (yes we do have them) when London borough's can't sort out their own problems in their own area's.

A side note concerning Somali Farm. My understanding was that this farm was owned by the late Mr. Read. Mr Linington leased the farm from Mr Read, on Mr Read's death the executors of Mr. Read's estate or his inheritors (C of E) I believe have increased the rental of the land so much so that it has made it un-viable for Mr Linington to farm the land any more. Am I a cynic? I don't think so. The biggest beneficaries of Mr. Read's estate have since his death sold several of his properties and bits of land for housing (Canterbury Road Westgate near the Walmer Castle Pub and the site opposite now occupying Read Court retirement Flats)). Thank goodness the Birchington/Westgate golf course has a 60 year covenant banning the sale for developement.

In reply to James Maskell. The 2nd application is about or has gone to TDC. The first application was perhaps 3 - 4 years ago, the ex KCC councilor may be able to give you more information. A suggestion I make is keep an eye on Thanet. this will give you all the planning applications for Thanet, it will also give you planning applications going back several years.

Westgate dog walker said...

Anon of 9.30pm (aka Cynical Snob). I agree with what you have been saying.
Question: Can any of our Councillors please find out from planning Dept the total number of NEW RESIDENCEs (of all types) built in the last two years; presently under construction and planned for already around Thanet?
There does seem to have been a building rash. Does the number already go into the thousands?
QUESTION: Is not the area of farmland around Westgate already shown as not being available for housing (Thanet Plan).

To put record straight on Somali Farm and land farmed by Liningtons. It is either Quex Park Estate owned and tenanted by Linington family or Linington's owned and has never been the late Mr Read's land. The present difficulties of ES linington &Son may have more to do with hanging on to large workforce and staying in cauliflowers when supermarkets were screwing prices down to farmers. Husbandry of land will continue by contract farming. Quex Park made the move out of cauliflowers a few years ago. Its a pity that possibly the best quality cauliflower area in the UK has lost two previously highly esteemed growers of cauliflowers. Another little bit of Thanet's history closes.

James Maskell said...

Thanks for the advice cynical snob! I do visit the ukplanning site from time to time, though sadly not as often as I should. Thats why, particularly in Salmestone ward, local people need to talk with each other about these issues and to those who are paid through taxpayers money to represent them. If they are not representing their constituents properly, the best course of action is to talk to Simon Moores or to put a letter in the Gazette asking why their representatives arent doing their jobs. Its time for residents to demand representation at a local level. If the elected representatives arent doing their jobs properly, then they should be held to account over it. I would expect nothing less if I was in their position.

Anonymous said...

With the chalky southern slopes we could grow some wicked vines and make a good wine industry here, no let's grow cauliflowers instead, yes they stink and no one eats them. Brilliant master plan.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

re: anon 10:56 PM...
Ah, a man/woman after my own heart....Let's get together and make some pure Thanet wine!

Anonymous said...

No need to much wineing already here.....