North Kingston Church of England free school bid postponed

David Campanale

David Campanale

First published in Education News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

Illness has delayed an application for a Church of England secondary free school in Kingston - paving the way for an alternative bid backed by Kingston Council.

King Edward the Martyr School missed the January 4 deadline for its funding application to the Government.

Its backers, the Kingston Church School Foundation (KCSF) and Woodard Academies Trust, will wait until the next round of bidding, possibly in November.

KCSF director Kevin Davis said the decision followed a request from Kingston Council, which is backing an alternative bid by the Kingston Educational Trust for a non-faith school on the site of the North Kingston Centre in Richmond Road.

He said the foundation also wanted to gather more support from parents to increase the bid's chances of success.

Mr Davis, a former leader of Kingston Council, said: "We're just reassessing at the moment.

"We had lots of support for the school but we always want more and delaying it actually gives us more time to get more.

"We are therefore holding our proposal until we gather significantly more backers.”

The proposal was further hindered when two of the bid writers were hospitalised last month with serious illnesses.

Mr Davis said: "Having two of the key people who were writing this taken to hospital was probably the biggest problem."

“It was pretty clear to us there was an awful lot of confusion amongst parents as to what was going on.

"One moment there wasn't any free school bids then suddenly there was two.

"This gives the council's bid a clear run, and if it's successful, we then have a clear run in the next round."

Fellow KCSF director David Campanale said: "Kingston Council are not certain to get their own bid through, but we'll know by May.

"There is room for both proposals and I don't see the Foundation and the Kingston Education Trust being in competition.

"However, it remains vital that more qualifying parents of children in years four and five say they support the idea of a Church of England secondary school if that is what they want for their child.

"Supporters can come from anywhere in the borough."

The Kingston Educational Trust is a partnership between Kingston University, Kingston College and EducationKingston, which is itself a partnership between Kingston Council and state-funded borough schools.

The bid, submitted to the Department for Education before Christmas, would establish a free school for 11 to 18-year-olds at the North Kingston Centre by September 2014.

The school would be co-educational, non-selective and non-faith, and would admit six forms of entry, or 180 children per year.

A sixth form would be established by September 2019.

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