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Eden Valley parents and pupils travel to KCC headquarters to hear decision on school
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Eden Valley parents and pupils travel to KCC headquarters
to hear decision on school

Over 40 parents and young people from Edenbridge will make the journey to Maidstone on Monday 18 March to hear Kent County Council's decision on the future of Eden Valley School.

They will join representatives from the Edenbridge Vision Group, specially formed to focus on the future of the school, as well as other representatives from the local community, to listen to the debate at Sessions House, Maidstone as Kent County Council's Cabinet makes its key decision about whether to close the school.

The Vision Group has suggested the following alternative proposal:

1. Continuing to support the existing school by keeping it open for a further year so that the proposed Edenbridge Community College concept (see press release entitled 'Community sets out a vision for Edenbridge') becomes a reality in September 2003

2. Providing Local Education Authority Officer support to work up a Fresh Start proposal for September 2003

3. Approving and providing an ongoing commitment to enhanced community provision at the school including the refurbishment of the Astor Centre and some parts of the school premises.

Fresh Start is designed to replace a school that is in special measures with a new school. The purpose of the programme is to help schools to re-establish themselves in their local community, to bring good practice into their operation and to become a successful school, achieving high standards.

Cllr Jill Davison, Sevenoaks District Council's Member for Edenbridge North says: "It is encouraging to see members of the community becoming so involved with the future of Eden Valley School. They have worked hard towards campaigning for a healthy future for the school and the Cabinet's decision will be crucial for the town."

Stephen Marshall of Eden Valley Parents' Action Group says: "It is essential that KCC decide to retain the school. If they close it, students who currently go there will have to be transported to other schools 10 miles away. This will result in disruption to their teaching, which will particularly affect those students studying for their GCSE exams. There will also be increased travel costs for students and other associated costs such as new uniforms which we expect KCC to pay for."

Closure of the school could also lead to the loss of accommodation for community groups who use the school premises.

Local representatives are also campaigning for improved community facilities on this site either by refurbishing the Astor Centre or by having a new centre.

The Vision Group believes it is essential for KCC to commit continued investment to meet education and community needs in Edenbridge.

For more information contact Merle Bigden, Sevenoaks District Council's Head of Community Development on 01732 227285.

Note to editors: In the DETR Index of Deprivation 2000, the two wards of Edenbridge South and Edenbridge North are in the top 6% of wards nationally for education, skills and training and ranked 10th and 11th in the 331 wards in Kent. Edenbridge North is ranked 3rd in Kent for truancy.

The Edenbridge Community Appraisal 2001 demonstrated the views of the community on a range of issues. Key issues reflected in the Appraisal were highlighted by respondents who considered the following to be important or very important:

  • 77.9% continued education provision in the town
  • more activities for young people,
  • crime prevention (particularly vandalism which was highlighted by 91.8% of respondents),
  • 71.1% improved social facilities for young people
  • 54.5% the provision of adult evening classes
  • 39.2% after school club

Media contact: Chris Pyburn in the Communications Team on 01732 227177.

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