Minister urged to agree progress on new Maritime Academy in Strood

Published: Friday, 5th November 2021

Our Children’s Services portfolio holders have written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to ask for an urgent meeting to discuss the future of a new school in Strood.

In September the Planning Committee approved plans for the Maritime Academy which will provide 1,150 much-need secondary school places in Strood as well as local housing and the restoration of a Grade 1 listed barn.

We, alongside the Department for Education (DfE) and The Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), who will be running the school, began putting plans in place to ensure that the school could welcome its first pupils in September 2022, initially on a temporary site until the works on the new school are completed.

The DLUHC issued a holding letter to us while they reviewed the planning decision and the DfE. TSAT and ourselves, expected to hear from the government by the end of September.

As the timing of the decision is now critical if the council is to provide a temporary site for the school next September, the Portfolio Holders for Children’s Services, Cllr Josie Iles, and Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Cllr Martin Potter, have written to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to ask for an urgent meeting to avoid further delays in building this vital secondary school.

The matter has become critical

Cllr Josie Iles, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “Although we understand why the decision has been delayed, the matter has now become critical and we are requesting an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State as the future education of thousands of pupils is at stake. The Maritime Academy is needed to make sure that children can be educated in Medway. Providing the best education for our young people is a key part in our drive for Medway to become even more child-friendly. I urge the Secretary of State to speak with us as soon as possible about this matter.”

Ensure children can be taught in Medway

Cllr Martin Potter, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, said: “The Maritime Academy will be a state-of-the-art facility, run by an excellent trust, and already 250 parents have applied for their children to have a place at the new school. There is extremely limited capacity at Medway’s other secondary schools to meet this demand. I implore the Secretary of State to stand with these families and ensure their children can be taught in Medway.”

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