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Parents fight academy plan

PUBLISHED: 17:48 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:49 23 August 2010

A PARENT has vowed to fight plans for a new academy saying education chiefs could be forced into a U-turn at a crunch meeting. Jane Legg, 48, of Penenden, New Ash Green and hundreds of other parents are set for a clash with education chiefs over plans to

A PARENT has vowed to fight plans for a new academy saying education chiefs could be forced into a U-turn at a crunch meeting.

Jane Legg, 48, of Penenden, New Ash Green and hundreds of other parents are set for a clash with education chiefs over plans to turn Axton Chase School into an academy.

A third public meeting is planned for next Thursday, June 12, at the school campus in Main Road, Longfield.

Mrs Legg said: "We will fight to keep our school a comprehensive. The new academy status will effectively turn it into a selective grammar school, denying many children a place.

"They know we have more ammunition about the proposal than before and we intend to fight hard for our children's future education.

"Class sizes of 60, possibly going up to 90 is just crazy, they were never that big even after World War Two.

"A teacher can just about detect serious issues with a child in a class of 30, say bullying or abuse at home issues. Children spend the most time with a teacher other than a parent and this plan will do nothing to improve their quality of education."

She said Kent County Council's education chief Paul Carter may be forced into making concessions due to an overwhelming number of complaints from parents.

Mrs Legg said: "A serious problem we have is that if something is going wrong in an academy, because we will be outside KCC's powers we will have little way of addressing the issues.

"There will be no parent governors so our influence over how our children are taught will be redundant."

Backers expected to attend are The Leigh Technology Academy Trust, The University of Kent and KCC.

They are expected to clarify the next steps to ensure the best possible outcomes for students, parents, governors and staff.

Land where the school is currently based was put up for sale on May 17 with a view to building 142 new homes. New buildings would replace the ageing school 1960's campus.

A Kent County Council spokesman was unavailable for comment as we went to press.

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

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