Pupils from two Kent schools to benefit from new £25m facilities

  • Watch: Inside Kent's newest secondary school as staff prepare for the start of term

Pupils at two secondary schools in Canterbury are to benefit from new state-of-the-art sports and performing arts facilities.

Barton Manor School will officially open from Monday, 5 September, on the site of the former Chaucer Technology School, which closed in 2015. 

It has taken five years of planning and cost an estimated £25 million to build. 

At first, the school will comprise of just 150 Year 7 pupils, with it slowly growing over the coming years as more 11-year-olds join each September. 

But youngsters from the nearby Barton Court Grammar will also benefit from some of the new facilities at the Spring Lane campus.

Performing arts spaces, a sports hall and dance studio are among the new facilities to open to schoolchildren.

Both schools are part of the same academy trust, and are able to share staff and resources, as required.

Executive Headteacher Kirstin Cardus told ITV News Meridian: “We built this school on the same ethos and culture as the grammar school. This allows us to share the best leaders, the best teachers, the best support staff and the best practice. It allows us to develop high standards of education for all.”

Barton Manor is a non-selective free school, with its construction costs funded directly from the Department for Education. 

The new buildings include a large theatre, sports hall, dance studio, science laboratories, music rooms and two libraries. 

  • Watch: Kirstin Cardus, Executive Headteacher

Lead music teacher, Georgette Fenn, will work at both schools. She told ITV News Meridian: “At the grammar school we have a very strong choir and orchestra. Any students coming [to Barton Manor] who are interested will be able to come and participate in all those activities. 

“Barton Court students will also be able to come over here and be able to use these fantastic new facilities.”

The new school was oversubscribed for its first year of teaching, with more than a hundred children on the waiting list. 

Kirstin Cardus added: “Having a model of grammar school and non-selective schools working together is a really powerful model.”

It will be between five and seven years before the new school reaches its intended capacity of 1,050 pupils. 

Until then, many classrooms and areas of the school will remain closed, until they are needed. The plan is for it to one day host a shared sixth form with the sister grammar school. 

Barton Manor is one of four new schools opening in the South East this September. The others are Rochester Riverside CofE Primary School, Maritime Academy in Strood and Summerdown School in Eastbourne.