What are the key criteria for approval under the Voluntary-aided schools capital scheme?
The DfE will only provide capital funding to support strong proposers to establish new voluntary aided schools that create good school places for children and young people where they are most needed to meet demographic growth and where there is evident demand from parents for the type of place that the school will offer.
Where will the school be situated?
Subject to full feasibility and formal committee approval in due course, Kingston Council will lease part of the Kingsmeadow site for the school. That location will enable the school principally to serve future cohorts of children living in Kingston and Norbiton – the areas where children have been unplaced at the initial offers stage for the last few years.
Why does there have to be a new school? Why can’t the Council simply expand existing secondary schools to meet the basic need requirement for more places?
The Council has very limited opportunity for expanding existing schools, for three reasons: they have very little physical space for expansion; eight of the 11 schools are single-sex; and the Council does not have sufficient capital funding to afford to expand schools to provide enough places to meet the forecasted need.
Why can’t the Council just open its own non-faith secondary school?
By law, new state-funded schools must usually be free schools, which by law cannot be established by local authorities. There are two exceptions to that:
- Where a local authority can afford the capital costs of building a new school, it can hold a competition to invite education providers to establish a new school (which would still be a free school) but Kingston Council does not access to such capital funding.
- Faith and some other organisations can propose voluntary-aided schools, like this proposal.
Who will pay for the costs of the proposed new school?
The Department for Education’s Education and Skills Funding Agency would provide 90% of the capital costs of the new build, landscaping, etc for the proposed school. Kingston Council will provide the other 10%. The revenue funding for the school for its day-to-day operational costs, such as staffing and resources, will be provided in the same manner as any other maintained school within the borough.
Why are you proposing to open with only Year 7 classes?
Our proposed first year intake reflects where demand for places has been identified. When starting a new school we believe that it is really important to nurture the first year and establish the culture of the new school. Our first Year 7 classes will also be our first classes to take GCSEs and to be able to work with them exclusively for their first year will establish solid foundations for their success.
Will the school be academically selective?
No. The school will have an inclusive admissions policy. Children of all abilities, from all backgrounds, of all faiths and none, will be made welcome to apply. The school will be part of the local and pan-London coordinated admissions process for state-funded secondary schools.
If the school opens, will that mean less money for the other schools in the area?
No. The opening of the school would not mean that the overall funding available in an area goes down. The total funding any individual new school receives depends on the number of pupils attending.
Will Kingston Church of England Secondary School be inspected by Ofsted?
Yes. The school would be subject to inspection in the same way as an academy category schools. The school will also inspected by Ofsted prior to opening and will be subject to termly visits from the Department for Education during its first year.
Have you chosen a Principal for Kingston Church of England Secondary School?
No. We would expect to appoint a leadership team to start with the school no later than 9 months before the opening of the secondary school.
How will the school be accountable?
The school will be run by a Board of Governors who will be accountable to the charitable Trust which oversees the school, OFSTED and the DfE.
How can I apply for a place?
Applicants should register their interest online using the attached link here.
Do I need to go to church or a place of worship?
120 of the 180 places per year will be ‘open places’ where no specific religious affiliation criteria will be used. These places will be allocated by distance to the school from home. Parents applying for the 60 ‘foundation places’ may need to demonstrate their religious commitment and affiliation as part of the admissions process.