Info below from TGS re Consultation on enlargement of premises (and proposed continuation of the additional form of entry which was temporary for 2012 and 2014 entry)
Tonbridge Grammar School is a former foundation school which converted to academy status in January 2011. Under its funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education, the capacity of the School is 1109 in the age range 11-18, including a Sixth Form of 356 places.
The Academy Trust now wishes to expand the School as set out below (the “Proposal”).
Tonbridge Grammar School (TGS) proposes the following:
(1) To enlarge its premises by building a new two storey Sixth Form Study Centre with dining facilities to provide outstanding spaces for learning and independent study for current and future Sixth Form students and enable TGS to increase its intake across the School.
(2) The resulting freed space would be refurbished and used to improve Music and Art provision for the benefit of all students.
Subject to planning permission, the new build would commence in the autumn 2014 and be ready by September 2015.
Why the expansion is needed
Current Sixth Form accommodation is not fit for purpose; it is cramped and dingy and located on the outer edge of the site. The new Sixth Form Study Centre would place senior students at the heart of the School physically, thereby strengthening the beneficial influence that Sixth Formers give to the younger girls. The additional dining space created is extremely important for health and well-being amongst girls today.
What are the benefits of expansion?
The School has the professional resources to expand its capacity. This would enable more young people to benefit from its outstanding educational provision. The School has an established reputation for offering the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. The academic and extra-curricular opportunities extended to TGS students are unique at a state sector school in this area of Kent. There is high demand for entry at age 11 and age 16. The new Sixth Form Study Centre would provide open, flexible, spaces to improve creative and collaborative learning for all ages.
The School is committed to raising aspiration amongst current and future students and continuing to serve the needs of a wider community. TGS has taken an additional form of entry into year 7 in 2013 and will do so again in September 2014 in response to the demand for selective places within this area. Expansion will allow the School to better satisfy parental demand for school places in Year 7 annually by enabling the School to plan for an additional form of entry. This enlargement of premises would reduce pressure on the Admissions Appeals process and reduce the number of late changes to allocations which impacts on the ability of schools to plan their provision.
The School's exclusive adoption, from September 2012, of the International Baccalaureate Diploma initially resulted in an anticipated reduction in Sixth Form students. However this is now resulting in a marked increase in applications from new students expressly choosing this distinctive educational experience. Levels of student achievement and success have continued to be outstanding. This, together with increased numbers of TGS girls choosing to complete their 7 year IB education clearly forecasts a need for improved, larger and more flexible learning spaces. This trend of growth at age 11 and at age 16 will be managed by the School, which as a result of this development could accommodate up to 1260 students. The School will exercise its right as an Academy to offer over PAN until such time as the increased capacity of the School is properly assured, at which point the PAN will be reviewed, taking account of demand and availability for grammar school places locally.
Separately TGS has submitted a planning application for the Sixth Form Study Centre to Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council. The reference of the planning application is 14/00575/FL and it can be found on the council planning portal at:http://publicaccess2.tmbc.gov.uk/online-applications/
(Post code TN9 2JR)
The School is actively pursuing solutions in response to the concerns raised by its close neighbours in the community about the planning application. The School has held a public exhibition and conversation on Tuesday 13 May, and has had constructive meetings with Ward Councillors. The School is seeking ways to improve substantially relations with local residents and in particular to restore trust by inviting more opportunities for dialogue and information sharing through meetings, newsletters, emails and exhibitions.
In physical terms the School is taking steps to reduce the levels of parking stress in neighbouring streets by providing a total of 130 car parking spaces on site (to include 5 visitors bays and 7 disabled bays). Overall this almost doubles the existing daily parking provision. A further 44 out of hours overflow spaces will be provided on the netball courts (2 permanent spaces would be out of use whilst overflow in operation). This will bring a total of 172 out of hours’ spaces. A number of spaces will also be made available for student parking and the School is consulting on a new student parking policy.
The Proposal to enlarge the premises is subject to the following process:
- Stakeholder consultation process of 4 ½ weeks
- Governing Body consideration of the consultation results and decision whether to proceed with the Proposal
If, following consultation, a decision is made to proceed with the Proposal, the next steps would be:
- TGS will seek approval from the Education Funding Agency to enlarge its premises
- The Education Funding Agency will make a decision
- If approval is given by the Education Funding Agency, the expansion works will begin in September 2014
The consultation period for stakeholders on the Proposal will run from Tuesday 27th May to Friday 27th June. Interested parties are invited to give their views during the consultation period by writing to the Chair of Governors at Tonbridge Grammar School, Deakin Leas, Tonbridge, TN9 2JR – please mark your correspondence as “Expansion Consultation”.
Further information about the plans is available on the school website at the following link: www.tgs.kent.sch.uk/information