Parents protest academy plans
PUBLISHED: 17:51 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:46 23 August 2010
PARENTS at a comprehensive school have staged a protest against proposals to transform it into a multi-million pound academy. Axton Chase School, Main Road, Longfield, was chosen as the site for a new academy in January this year, and was set to become f
PARENTS at a comprehensive school have staged a protest against proposals to transform it into a multi-million pound academy.
Axton Chase School, Main Road, Longfield, was chosen as the site for a new academy in January this year, and was set to become federated with neighbouring Leigh City Academy in Dartford.
A group of parents who oppose the plans gathered outside the school gates on Monday and Tuesday.
They claim to have been misled over what it will mean when it becomes an academy in September. During the protest cars sounded their horns as they drove past in support.
Jane Legg, 48, of Penenden, New Ash Green, has three sons at the school and is one of the organisers of the protest.
She said: "We didn't know the full implications until we received brochures for the new school three weeks ago.
"We are not opposed to change, but we like what we have got. We have a good system in place.
"If it becomes an academy, entrance exams will have to be passed, lessons will be 90 minutes long, and there will be as many as 60 children to a class.
"People that have chosen to send their children to a comprehensive are now having this choice taken away from them. It is not going to be supporting a village."
Existing pupils will transfer to the new academy in September if it is approved after the public consultation which ends on May 30. The building of the new facilities will begin in early 2009.
Dr Ian Craig, Director of Operations for Children, Families and Education at Kent County Council, said: "I do not think that the parents have been misled. Kent County Council (KCC) has been clear all the way through that there may have been some misunderstanding, but we have been clear.
"Leigh City and Axton Chase will in law be separate schools, but there would be an overall management and governing body for the two.
"Current staff roles might change, but they will not lose their jobs. Their employment rights pass to the academy trust from KCC.
"Class sizes could be as high as 60, but this is not for every class. Classes are being built to accommodate 90 pupils, but it gives them the option to teach larger classes at times to free up teachers.
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