Failing Chaucer School in Canterbury to close

  • 25 February 2014
  • From the section Kent

A secondary school which was placed into special measures a year ago is to be shut down.

Kent County Council announced the closure of The Chaucer School in Canterbury following days of speculation over its future.

Pupils have been told about the closure of the school, which was judged inadequate in an Ofsted inspection in February 2013.

The county council said the decision had been taken with a heavy heart.

'Anxious parents'

A further monitoring inspection by Ofsted in November last year found the school was "making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures".

The co-educational technology school had 845 students aged 11 to 18 at the last inspection but numbers have since dwindled to 600.

Younger children will be found places in other schools from September but those in year 10 will be able to stay for another year.

Years 11 and 12 will get help finding places at other schools and colleges or work with training.

It is believed the school had a budget deficit of nearly £1m.

'Very angry'

Julian Brazier, Conservative MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, said a collapse in the number of applications for places over the past two or three years had played a big part in its financial difficulties.

"It was starting to work its way out of special measures but it wasn't getting better fast enough," he said.

"Parents weren't persuaded and the fact that so few of them have chosen this for their children in the forthcoming year has left Kent County Council with very few choices."

Independent education adviser Peter Read said he was very angry for the pupils.

"I think some of them will carry a chip on their shoulder as a result of their education being, frankly, messed up by other people and that is an absolute disgrace," he said.

Councillor Roger Gough said: "With numbers dropping, the school is no longer viable - it does not have enough pupils to bring in the funding required to provide the resources needed.

"In this situation, the county council has little option but to find alternative places for the children currently at Chaucer."

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