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PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE FUTURE OF EDEN VALLEY

School Closes Kent County Council's Cabinet Member for School Organisation, Leyland Ridings, has asked for a public consultation in order to decide the future of Eden Valley School in Edenbridge. This 11 - 18 wide ability school has, for many years, attracted only a small proportion of the local children. Pupil numbers are currently 230 and are projected to fall to 200 in September 2002 and below that in 2003. The projection is based upon the number of parents known to be choosing Eden Valley School in Year 7 and the number of older students who will be completing their studies and therefore leaving the school.

The diminishing pupil numbers will have two major effects: sharply reduced funding for the school, and increasing difficulty in maintaining the full curriculum for students. In turn, both of these factors make it progressively more difficult to attract teachers to the school.

Recognising this, Her Majesty's Inspectors have stated that Special Measures are required for Eden Valley School because it is likely, in the near future, to be unable to provide a satisfactory standard of education for its pupils.

The Inspectors paid tribute to the excellent work done by Acting Headteacher, Sara Kemsley, and her team of staff at Eden Valley School. They also acknowledge the important contribution of the two linked schools, Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls and Chiddingstone Primary School, and the support of Kent LEA, to the progress that Eden Valley School has recently made.

"Despite the best efforts of the staff and the LEA, a majority of parents living locally are choosing to send their children to other schools. With falling pupil numbers, budget difficulties and problems in recruiting and retaining teachers, the school now faces the imminent prospect of being unable to provide an acceptable standard of education for its pupils," the Inspectors' report says.

Kent Local Education Authority will be organising a full public consultation, including a public meeting at which parents and members of the community can express their views

   
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