I recently urged Kent County Council to progress a second primary school site in Whitfield – where almost 500 pupils are taught in conditions described as “full to bursting”. This is Whitfield Aspen Primary School, in Mayfield Road, which currently provides for 376 students in mainstream education and a further 112 with complex needs.
A second site known as 'Richmond' was due to be built off Archers Court Road in 2017 – and open in September 2018 – but construction is yet to begin. Meanwhile four extra mobile classrooms were erected on one of the school fields, which has now run out of space, and a satellite site is being used in Aylesham.
Plans at the second site include expanding to four forms of entry with new buildings and sports fields, tennis courts and a multi-use games area. It is expected to cater for key stage 2 pupils. On top of existing capacity issues, a further 1,050 new houses are planned as part of the first phase of a project known as the Whitfield Expansion.
I was pleased to visit school leaders recently – and as a result I am urging Kent County Council to build out the second site.
This is a wonderful school with excellent teaching, but they are full to bursting. We need to see the second site taken forward as quickly as possible. There are now 2,476 more children in good or outstanding schools like Whitfield compared to 2010. Yet their learning environment is incredibly important too. It’s vital that we see progress soon.