Issue details

Ridge View School - Proposed relocation and expansion

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: For Determination

Division affected: Tonbridge;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 20/11/2015

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Keith Abbott, Director of Education Planning and Access 03000 416677and 03000 412209 Email: Tel: 01622 696588, Jared Nehra, Area Education Officer - West Kent Email:

Consultation process

Equality Implications: Equality Impact Assessments can be found at:


This matter is referred to in the Directorates Business Plan and Medium Term Capital Programme.



Financial Implications

  1. Capital – On 27 September 2013 the Education Cabinet Committee received a paper on the Targeted Basic Need projects and the Committee resolved to endorse the decision to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform on the proposed decisions to expand and refurbish and build schools in the identified areas.  A further decision, number 14/0098 was taken by the Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform on 2 September 2014 to allocate £14.6m for the relocation of the school.  It is proposed that this decision be superseded by a further decision to allocate £16.8m of which £2.3m will be from Targeted Basic Need Budget and £14.5m from the Special School Review Budget.  The increase costs result from inflationary pressures on building works and site specific costs for Yeoman’s lane.

The new proposals to make prescribed alterations to Ridge View School will allow for the provision of a new purpose-built special school.  The initial design approach considers the topography and constraints of the site and how this best serves the needs of the school.  The amount of external space for the school is paramount to the school’s curriculum for external learning and play. To optimise the external space the building of the site informed the form of the building, allowing direct access from classrooms and the main building to a secure landscaped external area.

A single building solution creates the opportunity to zone the areas of the school in relation to their function, with communal zones providing space for exchange and the opportunity to share resources. Where previously different functions of the school have been fragmented across different buildings, a single building lends itself to creating a ‘village model’ whereby all parts of the school have access to more facilities and have a greater flexibility of space.

Each cluster of classrooms wraps partially around shared quiet communal zones with access to small group rooms, providing multiple space options for teaching and learning. High ceilings will be provided in order for the classrooms to be bright and airy and all classrooms on the ground floor open onto external areas for outside learning.  For all higher dependent classrooms on the ground floor there is direct access to toilets from classrooms.

The hall will be large enough for three badminton courts and will be able to be divided with a moveable acoustic wall. This alongside the Hydrotherapy pool will provide excellent opportunities for the needs of pupils at the school.

A life skills house will be provide opportunity for pupils to prepare for everyday life after finishing school. This is designed to have the appearance of a regular 3 bedroom house, two stories with a pitched roof.  There will be wheelchair accessible bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor, and fully integrated lower kitchen work tops for independent use by wheelchair users.

b.    Revenue:

i.      The schools delegated budget will be allocated for an agreed number of commissioned places in accordance with the Place Plus High Needs funding methodology.

ii.    Human – Ridge View School will appoint additional teachers, as the school size increases and the need arises.  The costs of the satellite unit would be met from the Dedicated Schools Grant, with funding being provided to Ridge View School to run the provision.  A detailed agreement will be set out in a Memorandum of Understanding, which will be agreed and signed by both schools.



School consultations can be found at:


Approximately 600 hard copies of the public consultation document were circulated, which included a form for written responses.  The consultation document was distributed to parents/carers, staff and governors of both schools, County Councillors, Member of Parliament, the Diocesan Authorities, local libraries, Parish Councils, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, and others.  The consultation document was posted on the KCC website and the link to the website widely circulated.  An opportunity to send in written responses using the response form, email and online was also provided.


During the consultation period some uncertainty was expressed by parents concerning the proposal to create a Satellite provision at Wouldham All Saints CEPS.  A drop-in session was organised on 13 October between 3.00 and 6.00pm at Ridge View School and further clarification was distributed to parents by Ridge View School with support of the Area Education Officer.


Following the closure of the consultation period 25 positive responses were received, 3 were negative and 2 were undecided bringing the total to 30 responses.  A copy of all responses received has been passed to the Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform for his consideration.  A summary of responses is attached at Appendix 1 including the full response from the Leader of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council indicating the Borough Council’s strategic support for this project at this stage. 


Views were also sought from:

The Local Members for Tonbridge and Malling Rural North East

The Headteacher and Governing Body of Ridge View School

The Headteacher and Governing Body of Wouldham All Saints CEPS

The KCC Head of SEN Assessment and Placement

The Area Education Officer



Financial implications: Jared Nehra Area Education Officer - West Kent Tel number: 03000 412209 Keith Abbott Director of Education Planning and Access 03000 416677

Legal implications: 15/00091


Agenda items