Keep Barton Court School in its historic location in Canterbury.
This petition made change with 787 supporters!
The Barton Court Academy Trust have been offered a piece of land in Herne Bay on which to build a school. Their plan is to close down the present historic site in Canterbury and relocate Barton Court to Herne Bay in 2017. This move has apparently been triggered by the offer of land, not through any strategic discussion of the pros and cons of such a move for the school or the students.
The school sent a letter to parents inviting them to a meeting to discuss the 'possible expansion' of the school on the coast. This was poorly attended as most parents assumed that it meant a satellite campus, not a complete relocation. The school will not share the minutes of any meetings regarding previous discussions.
The 'developer' who has offered the land, Mark Quinn, values it as a 'gift' worth £10 million. The entire piece of land that he is planning to build 100s of homes on was bought for £1.2 million, and the section of land that the school will occupy is about 1/20 of the whole site (generous estimate). This makes the land worth more like £60K. Mr Quinn's generous 'gift' looks slightly less generous - clearly he has valued this land based on its worth for housing - and of course the houses will sell for a lot more with an OFSTED rated 'outstanding' school on site.
Mr Quinn claims to have consulted with local councillors on this issue, sadly he is being disingenuous as he only consulted the local councillors representing coastal wards, not City councillors. He was rude, bordering on aggressive to parents at a school meeting. Despite this, the school appear to believe that he is an appropriate person to do business with.
One argument put forward is that there is a 'need' for a grammar school on the coast. This need has not been fully explained or explored. There are of course other schools in Canterbury as it is a central point for the district with good transport links. However the Simon Langton Boys School is now ‘super selective’, meaning that boys to the south of the City and beyond will be disadvantaged.
BCGS has always offered something unique - a small school in historic grounds, now co-ed, close to the City Centre and offering a calm and relaxed environment. There has been NO consultation with current or prospective parents, there has been NO proper analysis done of the needs of the community both now and in the future, there has been NO explanation as to why BCGS feels the need to solve the 'problem' that there is no grammar school in Herne Bay. There has been NO communication with local primary schools (we understand that this has now happened). There has been NO consideration given to current students who chose the school on the grounds of location.
There are many more reasons why we feel that this process has been ill-judged, badly communicated and plain wrong from the very start. We therefore call on the Head Teacher and Governors of the school to start acting in the best interest of the community that they serve by reconsidering their plan.
If you agree please get in touch! www.bartoncourtparentsforum.org
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