Prime Minister announces new Church school for Paddock Wood

Following a rigorous application and assessment process, the proposal for St Andrew's Primary School, a new Church free school for the Paddock Wood area, was today announced by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in one of his last acts in office.

Approved by the Department for Education, St Andrew's Primary School, proposed by the Tenax Schools Trust (led from Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells) in partnership with St Andrew's Church in Paddock Wood, will now work towards opening in September 2018 as a two form entry school. It will provide outstanding education for primary age children, underpinned by an inclusive Christian ethos.

Mr Ian Bauckham, Executive Head of the Tenax Schools Trust, said:
"We are delighted that, working with St Andrew's Church, our proposal for a new primary school for the growing town of Paddock Wood has today been accepted by the Department for Education. Drawing from the educational expertise and track record of other schools in the Tenax Schools Trust, we intend to create a school which provides additional places to meet the needs created by new housing, genuine choice for parents, and a Church school of which we can be proud."

Revd Bryan Knapp, Vicar of St Andrew's Church Paddock Wood, said:
"At St Andrew's Church of England and Methodist Church we are very pleased that our long cherished ambition to support the creation of a Church school for this town has been realised. We are committed to supporting the new school in its pre-opening phase and, once it has opened, to helping the school to nurture its inclusive Christian ethos in the service of all the families and children in Paddock Wood, whilst continuing to support also the other schools in the town."

Sarah Pearson, Interim Director of New Schools Network, said:
"The application process to set up a free school is extremely rigorous so it is a testament to the hard work of the Tenax Schools Trust that they have been approved to open. Today's announcement means the total number of free schools open or approved to open has now exceeded 450 - an incredible milestone, with more than 250,000 places now created by free schools.

"It is clear that the free schools programme is continuing apace, providing good new school places to local communities and proving increasingly popular with parents."

Interested parents can find out more at www.standrewspaddockwood.org.uk
The Prime Minister's announcement: www.gov.uk/government/news/david-cameron-announces-31-new-free-schools-on-final-visit-as-prime-minister

Editors' notes

  • Free schools are state funded schools that are independent of local authority control. They have the freedom to decide the length of school day and term, their curriculum, teacher pay and how they spend their budgets.
  • There are more than 300 free schools currently open and more than 160 approved to open, creating more than 250,000 places.
  • More than three quarters of free schools that have been inspected by Ofsted have been judged as Good or Outstanding. They are more likely to be judged as Outstanding when compared to other state schools.

New Schools Network is an independent charity that provides support to groups wanting to set up free schools: www.newschoolsnetwork.org