Pupils settle into new Chatham school


More from Medway Matters

A new school at the heart of Chatham has opened its doors to serve the local community.

New Horizons Children’s Academy has been up and running for just over a month now, providing essential school places for children in Medway.

The new school was created at the request of Medway Council in response to the national issue of growing demand for primary places. And the Thinking Schools Trust was successful in their bid to run the new academy, which sits on the former Chatham South site.

The old building was transformed with a large extension and extensive refurbishment works, all of which took just ten months to complete. Due to the nature of the build (using the existing buildings) the council was able to deliver a new primary school at a low cost and within a small time frame.

The school is set to grow year on year, from Reception year upwards. The school has also opened a Year 2 class this year, because of the additional demand in the local area for places in that year group.

Once fully established, the school will be able to enrol 720 pupils aged three to 11, with 90 pupils per year group.

Before the academy was ready to welcome pupils in September, extensive remodelling and refurbishment of the former Chatham South buildings had to be carried out. The cost totalled £5.2 million and was funded by the Targeted Basic Need Growth Fund.

Medway Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “This was very much a team effort with the council’s education team identifying the need for additional school places and working to secure the funding from the government.

“Our expert building design team then procured the contractor WW Martin to complete the novel refurbishment and extension of the old school in record time to produce a first class primary school fit for the future and enhancing the council’s track record for efficient, no-nonsense delivery of large capital schemes.”

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Mike O’Brien said: “In order to meet growing demand from primary places in Medway it was really important that this new academy was opened. It will now serve children from Chatham and Rochester and ease the pressure on places over the coming years.

“We must continue to respond to the growing population, and the New Horizons Children’s Academy is a great example of how the Council and academy trusts can work together to create new and exciting learning environments for our young people.”

Chief Executive of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust Denise Shepherd said: “The Thinking Schools Academy Trust has worked in real collaboration with the LA to ensure we have an outstanding learning environment at New Horizons. Children have settled in quickly, enjoy their learning and are proud of their new school.”

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