Discovery School overcrowding

I’ve been hearing things about how difficult the Reception children (particularly) are finding it with the cramped infrastructure at Discovery School, with its second year of three form entry. Poor kids, although it is a great school and I am sure everyone is doing everything they can there, it still feels quite wrong that planning permission is being sought for yet more residential accommodation while the developer and Council frankly neglect the primary school issues here.

15 thoughts on “Discovery School overcrowding”

  1. Before there are any knee-jerk responses to this thread, I don’t believe the council are neglecting the situation. On the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council planning applications website is an application submitted on 19th October by Kent County Council, and published by TMBC on 17th November, for:

    “Construction of three steel framed buildings and associated landscape work to provide accommodation for an additional six classrooms.”

    Here is the link to the planning application:

    http://publicaccess2.tmbc.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=LUSWIRQH0D700

    Here is the link to the drawing of the proposed classrooms:

    http://publicaccess2.tmbc.gov.uk/online-applications/files/4226318BD5FDC46F2B78FAB9A78C88B0/pdf/11_03179_CR3-PROPOSED_FLOOR_PLANS_AND_ELEVATIONS-439883.pdf

    And here is a link to the site plan, showing the proposed location of the classrooms:

    http://publicaccess2.tmbc.gov.uk/online-applications/files/5326D2B85EA93103A4101B4C426609E3/pdf/11_03179_CR3-SITE_LOCATION_PLAN_SHOWING_PITCH_LOCATIONS-439888.pdf

    This surely is a positive step on the part of Kent County Council towards the solution.

    Hope these links work directly – cut and paste them directly into your browser if not.

  2. Hi thanks. That’s why it is good to throw these local issues out here, so that others can share their knowledge. I will take a look. Obviously it was argued previously that adding the new classrooms in the ground was a response and the council and dec
    Developer deemed them sufficient where many parents did not.

  3. Update: in case the links don’t work (and the links to the drawings don’t work for me now for some reason) just click on the first link and it will take you to a page with a tab stating “Documents (10)”. All the docs relating to the application are to be found here.

  4. The Council are building extra classrrooms although I use that word in its loosest sense as they are in fact the modern day version of Portacabins. However they are removing a significant amount of the school play area plus demolishing a nature area created by the children and paid for by school fundraising. The Council are not however adding any space to the school common areas, the school now has a hall which is far too small, it is impossible for the entire school to put on a school play, in fact these are now done separately at the Malling School, whole school assemblies resemble a tin of sardines and currently lunches are served in three sitings! The queue to enter the school in the morning is great training for any children who end up working in London and using the Underground. Perhaps rather than using the land opposite the school for a pub an annex building to the school would be more useful. Oh and don’t even get me started on parking but as the school increases year on year I’d say it’s a safe bet that it won’t be improving anytime soon!

  5. Children need somewhere to go to school in the area in which they live,however they need space to play. This should take preference over a pub. With the ever increasing population on kings hill schools spaces are a must.

  6. I live in Kings Hill, and my son and two others in our street have not managed to get a school place for Sept 2012 because of oversubscription. We live 0.3 miles from both schools and cannot believe this situation. With the continual development of Kings Hill, this situation is only set to get worse! What is going to be done to ensure our children get the places they deserve.

  7. I would have thought the children having enough space to play should have taken priority over building more houses on the adjoining land which means the windows of the new houses but up against the fence of the school, and more housing gives those people priority over admissions. That’s the reason why someone can’t get a place when they live only 0.3m from the school.

  8. It is frustrating, on one hand people are complaining about the impact of 90 children at discovery and then on the other complaining their children didn’t get a space. We can’t have it both ways but to be fair it shouldn’t be this difficult either. What I can’t understand is why people are still moving here tho and why when they do, they seem surprised to hear that there is no space for their children in a KH school. Also some parents don’t realise that at the moment some classes are fit to burst with 33/34 or 35 children in one class. Maybe Kings Hill school needs to pull its finger out and follow Discovery’s lead and take 90 reception children too. Surely with all its land and parking a few Portacabins would barely make an impact.

  9. There is, on Kings Hill, enough available space to build a third school. One would have hoped that the trends and demographics around Kings Hill would have prompted the analysis, planning and acquisition of land and the development of policy to provide local schooling for primary and secondary schooling (kids get older) on or near Kings Hill.

    Political will currently does not match the needs of the people who live here as the parking, the schooling the transport (trains etc) all needs attention. I really like living on Kings Hill but there are trends that need to be addressed now or the levels of frustration will start to change the dynamics of the place and make it less enjoyable. Any politicians who would like to grab the attention of a ready audience who feel unrepresented should speak up soon I think.

  10. I am really worried that the excellent standard of schooling at Discovery school will start to slip with this massive expansion. The common facilities and play areas will be bursting, then there are the large class sizes. I’ve heard for example that they wont be able to deliver the statutory twice a week PE lessons to all classes.

    It’s a real pity. KCC should have made sure that the land next to the school which is being built on was kept. This was flagged up to them at the time by the school and it is they who need to take responsibilty for the current predicament.

  11. It seems to me that despite paying a premium to live here, we are at the mercy of KCC and Liberty as to the shape and fabric of our community.

    It was obvious last year that the third school was needed and this, to my understanding of last years events with the free school application, is an admission made by KCC. The third school was always planned but the public spending cuts removed this as an option.

    My question is this – are we going to stand for this?

    Between Liberty and KCC more and more houses are being built and perpetuating the school admissions problem. Construction companies are building closer to the schools on land still available. This is now not just, it appears from comments above, causing a problem for reception intake but throughout the year groups as more and more families more to Kings Hill. This is putting stress and pressure on our schools and their teaching staff as well as being a major cause of upset for parents.

    We cannot keep squeezing more children into the current Kings Hill schools. There remains an urgent need fo a third school in Kings Hill – what about KCC and Liberty giving us a site for a 6-form infant school for reception to year 2 (18 classrooms) which would then feed into Discovery & Kings Hill as junior schools? This would free up 15 classrooms in Kings Hill and Discovery Schools allowing them to expand safely. Just an idea.

    It’s simple – Liberty & KCC – you are both enjoying the fruit of homebuyers in Kings Hill….either you find the money to resolve the schooling situation here and stop crowding our schools or you stop building!

    Come on Kings Hill – this is our home; our community and it is time for us to take ownership of it! Let’s get together for a community meeting and talk through these issues and what ‘we’ want for our community.

    Perhaps it’s time to get the downside of King Hill life in the media and band together as a residents association?

    Kings Hill teachers – what about another try with a free school application?

  12. Agree wholeheartedly with you Emily. I would love to be part of a community meeting.

  13. It could be time for parents to be a bit more outspoken in the media and let the general public know the reality of life on Kings Hill. Of course none of us want to devalue our homes and give Kings Hill a bad reputation, but it would certainly encourage Liberty to be a bit more reasonable about offering a building, such as the old University of Greenwich building (opp. Asda) at a reasonable rent. As I understand it, the Free school application recently put forward by a group of parents, was rejected mainly because the rent on this building was far too high for a school to be financially viable. Surely it is in the interests of Liberty to be involved in solving this problem.

  14. The media are starting to take notice. There will be something about the parking and they are now interested in the school situation too. I spoke to a house builder this week that had been assured that the school situation had been resolved and was shocked to hear about local concerns and issues. Hopefully they will be following that up their end too as it must be starting to have an impact on their sales.

  15. Please come along to the public consultation meeting to be held at Discovery on 27th Nov at 7pm. This is regarding the ‘proposed’ expansion to Discovery School from 420 to 630. This meeting is important for current and prospective parents of the school as well as local residents that live around the school.
    We all want what is best for our children and of course we sympathize with those who too want a good school locally for their children. However, squeezing more into Discovery is not solving the issue- with extra classes also now being added on to Kings Hill how long before KCC decide or argue they actually will not now have the need to build a 3rd school. Meanwhile our child are eating lunch in classrooms, school dinners are served over 3 sessions they have less and less room to play outside, the small school hall is used between 11.15-2 for school lunches- with time slots left- in bad weather how can 21 classes possibly do their 2 sessions of PE/
    week? None of us can fault the staff they do a fantastic job but it can’t be easy and yes they have handled a 3 form entry well for 2 years but the impact of doing this for another 5???
    If anyone does have any information to share that may help us object to these further proposal, and push the building of a much needed 3rd school we would all be grateful of your help. If they agree to planning for the extra 950 houses on KH these would be thrown up in no time why will a new school take until 2015- because they have time to withdraw need for it???

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