Kings Hill School currently provides early years education for children who turn five when in the Reception class. Analysis by KCC Early Years relating to the sufficiency of nursery places in the local area indicates that there is a deficit of 80 nursery spaces in Kings Hill. Pressure for early year places has increased as additional houses have been built at Kings Hill and the demand is set to continue to increase as the 635 homes in ‘Phase 3’ are occupied. There is also a similar pressure for nursery places in the neighbouring area, with sufficiency data indicating a 106 space deficit in West Malling. This total 186 space deficit commonly necessitates parents traveling further afield to access nursery provision.
In both September 2013 and 2014 the school offered 90 Reception places (three classes) rather than its usual 60; these ‘bulge years’ were to ensure a sufficient number of Reception places were available. The school was provided with two additional classrooms to accommodate these larger year groups. The classes will be leaving over the next two years (currently in Years 5 and 6). Therefore, two additional classrooms will become available; one in September 2020 and one in September 2021, resulting in an overall loss of 60 pupils.
The nursery will initially provide 30 spaces in September 2020 that will increase to a maximum of 45 in 2021. Therefore, even with the establishment of the nursery, the school’s roll will decrease over a two-year period from 480 to a maximum of 465; a decrease of 15 pupils.
There are various local private early years care providers who have long waiting lists and do not have the capacity to expand. KCC is also working with another local primary school on a proposal to establish nursery provision.
This proposal will help to secure our ambition “to ensure that Kent’s young people have access to the education, work and skills opportunities necessary to support Kent business to grow and be increasingly competitive in the national and international economy” as set out in ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015 2020)’.
Decision type: Non-key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: Malling Rural East;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 29/10/2019
Decision due: Not before 2nd Dec 2019 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance with statutory requirements
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Lead director: Keith Abbott
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Nick Abrahams, Area Education Officer – West Kent Tel: 03000 410058 Email: Nicholas.Abrahams@kent.gov.uk.
In accordance with the Department for Education’s Statutory Guidance (October 2018): Making ‘prescribed alterations’ to maintained schools, there is a need to undertake a formal statutory consultation process.
The consultation ran from 16 September 2019 to 14 October 2019. Further information is available on the School Consultation webpage:
This matter was considered and endorsed at the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on 15th November 2019.
The Local Member’s views will be sought and any comments provided are included in the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee report concerning the proposed changes.
Financial implications: There is no capital expenditure required by KCC; The scheme will be funded by the school, utilising existing capital funds and via a loan from KCC. The school will receive revenue funding from the County Council based on the number of children in the setting and hours that they attend.
Legal implications: There are no specific legal implications for KCC. The change relates to children who are under the statutory school age. The school will be applying for planning permission to complete the wider improvement scheme.
Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been produced and is accessible online via the following link: www.kent.gov.uk/schoolconsultations. No issues have been identified in the early stage EqIA, but the assessment will be reviewed as the project continues.