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Barton Court School -  23rd August 2014
 
Governors` decision “a huge disappointment and a massive missed opportunity” – Gale
 
Herne Bay`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has this weekend described as “a huge disappointment and a massive missed opportunity” the decision, taken by the Governors of Barton Court School, not to pursue the prospect of a move to a new school in Herne Bay.
 
Sir Roger, who was himself educated at a grammar school and who has backed the project from the beginning, has said:
 
“I have stated and believe that this was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide the young people of the Coastal strip with a dedicated Grammar School and to redress the imbalance between the City – which currently has three selective schools – and the Coast which has none.
 
It is rarely, if ever, that a developer is willing to offer the combination of donated land and supporting sports facilities to enable a school to move from premises that are no longer fit for purpose to a new location.
 
The Headteacher at Barton Court, Kirstin Cardus, has courageously pursued the project bin the best interests of her school and her current and future pupils.  In taking a negative decision I believe that the Governors have presented the staff and pupils with a future in accommodation that will be unable to meet the needs of a growing number of students and difficult if not impossible to modernise. They have additionally condemned the increasing number of potential pupils from Herne Bay and Whitstable requiring selective education to continuing and unnecessary journeys and considerable expense in time and money.
 
I am fully aware that the funding gap was, to say the least, challenging. But challenges are there to be met, not to be run away from and had the Governors taken a positive and robust decision then I am sure that KCC, under its present or a new leadership, would have stepped up to the mark and helped us to realize the potential of this opportunity. That, combined with other potential funding streams, could have turned an ambition into a reality.
 
I shall continue to seek to promote the cause of a coastal grammar school but I cannot pretend that the task has not been made more difficult by what I regard as a City-centric and short-sighted decision.”

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