Councillors in Herne Bay and Sir Roger Gale have asserted that Herne Bay children are missing out on school places, with particular concern raised that children living in the Reculver, Bishopstone and Beltinge area have been excluded from attending grammar schools in general and Barton Court in particular (Pupils Caught In School Tug-Of-War, Letters and Opinion, Herne Bay Gazette, June 12/War Of Words Over School Move, Herne Bay Gazette, June 5).
This is obviously a concern to the Barton Court Parents Forum, which’ is a group founded on the principle that every child is entitled to receive a quality education. We asked Kent County Council about this and the evidence does not tally with the claums made by Herne Bay councillors. We sent a Freedom of Information request to KCC and, rather than missing out, ALL grammar-assessed children in the entire district have received a place at grammar school for the September 2014 intake. In fact, over the past three years there have been fewer than 80 grammar school-assessed pupils in each year group from the CT6 postal area.
In September this year, 63 of these children will travel to a grammar school to receive their education, and this cohort had been accommodated through the current provision — this includes those pupils that qualified through head teacher appeals. The facts of the matter are evident: Barton Court school serves the whole district best from its campus in the city and BCPF does not believe that it is worth the expense, disruption and upheaval involved in moving Barton Court Grammar School when Herne Bay cannot support a grammar school on its own. Herne Bay campaigners are presuming to remove the element of choice from Whitstable families. To ensure a financially viable coastal grammar school, not one grammar acsessed pupil from Whitstable would be able to attend the Langtons, Queen Elizabeth’s or Chatham House schools in order to prop up a coastal school of four-form entry.
It is also worth mentioning that for September 2014 there will be more pupils travelling from Herne Bay to Canterbury to non-grammar schools than the amount that qualified for a grammar school place. A total of 71 pupils will be making their way to Archbishop’s, Canterbury Academy, Spires or St Anseim’s.
Barton Court Parents Forum
Herne Bay Gazette, June 19th 2014