Government's closure of Kingston Community School a blow to parents and children, says Kingston Council

Kingston Council is deeply disappointed by the news the Government has chosen to proceed with its decision to close Kingston Community School (KCS) this month, at the end of the current school year.

The decision to close the school was proposed in April by Nick Gibb, Minister of State at the Department for Education, due to the adverse financial situations of both Chapel Street, the trust running the school, and the school itself. That decision has now been finally confirmed, following a ‘listening period’ in which Chapel Street sought the views of parents and carers of children at the school.

The Council understands this is a very difficult time for the school’s children and their families. The Schools Admissions Team has offered alternative school places for all the current KCS children whose parents applied.

Councillor Diane White, portfolio holder for Children’s Services said:

“It’s incredibly disappointing to have formal confirmation of the Government’s decision to close Kingston Community School.

“It is very upsetting for the children, staff and governors of the school who have all worked tirelessly to make it a success and  I feel so sad for them. They have been let down by the Government’s inability to build their permanent accommodation within a reasonable timeframe.

“The situation has been made worse by the amount of time that it has taken for the Minister to make his mind up, just a few days before the end of the school year.

“The Council has supported the school since before its inception, most recently by leasing it a second temporary site at Murray House to enable it to continue operating.

“I am glad that Achieving for Children’s Schools Admissions Team has found places for the KCS children for September and I know that their new schools will work very closely with their families to ensure that transition is as successful as it can be.

“Despite today’s disappointment, I am pleased the Government has agreed to seek a provider for a new school, in time for when it will be needed.”

Kingston Community School was originally approved by the Department for Education and is the responsibility of the Government. It opened in 2015 on a temporary site in Acre Road, Kingston, but has struggled to be financially viable. The Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) achieved planning permission for the proposed permanent site at Kingstons House in Coombe Road, Norbiton, in January 2017. However demolition of the existing building on the site did not begin until February this year.

The Council provided a second temporary site – the former care home, Murray House, also in Acre Road – from September 2019 as the school could not accommodate all its pupils at the first site.

The Department for Education has now confirmed that applications will be sought, in due course, for a new education provider to run a new free school on the Kingstons House site in a few years’ time, to meet the expected growth in numbers of children in the Norbiton area, largely as a result of the regeneration of the Cambridge Road Estate.