Issue details

22/00059 - Proposal to permanently expand Highsted Grammar School, Highsted Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 4PT from 120 places to 150 places for September 2023.

Proposed decision:

i.             Agree to increase the funding allocated to expand Highsted Grammar School from £4million to £6,665,574 through providing £2,665,574 additional funding from the Basic Need capital budget.

ii.            Authorise the Director of Infrastructure, Strategic and Corporate Services in consultation with the General Counsel and Director of Education to enter into any necessary contracts / agreements on behalf of the County Council.

iii.          Authorise the Director of Infrastructure, Strategic and Corporate Services to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements and to enter into variations as envisaged under the contracts. Variations to contract value to be no more than 10% above the capital funding agreed by the Cabinet Member without requiring a new Record of Decision.


Reason for the decision:

Additional funding of £2,665,574 is required for the expansion of Highsted Grammar school by 1FE from September 2023. Additional costs are due to inflation and a required re-design following initial feasibilities which have arisen since the decision to allocate £4M to this project.


The revised project cost is now £6,665,574. As the revised project cost is more than the ROD of £4m a new ROD is required to authorise the additional funding for this project.



The Kent Commissioning Plan 2020-2024 identified the need for additional selective places for the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Planning group. Forecasts indicted a deficit of up to 60 Year 7 places for 2021 and a continual need through the plan period of between 1.5FE and 2FE in additional selective school places. Discussions have been held with both grammar schools in Sittingbourne and each school has agreed to progress a 1FE permanent expansion. Each school has offered over their PAN for 2021 and 2022 delivering a total of 60 additional places for each year.


Options (other options considered but discarded):

There are two grammar schools in Sittingbourne, and they have both agreed to a 1FE expansion. Neighbouring planning groups, including Faversham and Canterbury Selective and Maidstone Selective planning group, have a deficit of year 7 places.


How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’:

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 (2017 - 2022)’.


The Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2020-24 identified the need to commission additional capacity in Sittingbourne Selective Schools.

Decision type: Key

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

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: Sheppey; Sittingbourne North; Sittingbourne South; Swale East; Swale West;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 29/06/2022

Decision due: Not before 10th Aug 2022 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead director: Christine McInnes

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Marisa White, Area Education Officer - East Kent Email: Tel: 01227 284407.


The proposed decision was considered and endorsed by the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on 19 July 2022.

Financial implications: The total capital allocation of £6,665,774 is to deliver a build programme that will provide a 3 storey mixed accommodation teaching block which includes both general teaching classrooms and specialist science classrooms. The project will also include renovation and conversion of existing areas to provide the additional teaching spaces required. The additional funding of £2,665,574 is due to the increase in cost of materials and labour and the requirement to re-design the build project following feasibility work that identified that further internal refurbishment and extension of the current buildings was not feasible from a cost and school operational perspective.

Legal implications: The funding allocation is subject to a contractual agreement between KCC and the Trust to project manage the build programme and offer a minimum of 150 Year 7 places from September 2023. The school’s current published admission number (PAN) is 120.

Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment has been produced and the assessment identified the following positive impacts: • Sufficient year 7 places will be provided. • Year 7 pupils will be able attend Grammar school provisions in their locality • More pupils will be able to attend a good or outstanding school. No adverse impacts were identified during the assessment. Data Protection implications: A DPIA screening form has been completed as no risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals has been identified a full assessment will not be required.