New Generation Schools Trust was approved in February 2016 by the Department for Education to open their third Free School in Northfleet. The school was due to be a 2 form entry mainstream primary school to serve the growing community in the Ebbsfleet Garden City.
It was originally hoped that the school would open in September 2017 in temporary accommodation.In November 2016 Hope Community School, Northfleet was deferred due to policy changes around Free Schools opening in temporary sites. The Trust continued with plans for the school, aiming to open in a permanent site in September 2018.
In December 2017 the school was put onto ‘pause’ by the Department for Education due to concerns that pupil projections were lower than anticipated and the need for the school had not yet grown significantly enough to support a primary school on this site. The Trust had already received 45 applications for its first reception classes who had to make alternative school choices.
Over the past 18 months New Generation Schools Trust has worked tirelessly with the Department for Education to develop plans for the school and grow the capacity of the Trust, which is a small and comparatively new Multi-Academy Trust. Until recently the Trust remained hopeful that they would be opening the school in September 2020. However, the Secretary of State has this week decided to withdraw the Trust’s approval to continue in the process, the project will now be formally cancelled. This decision has been made to due to concerns around the capacity of New Generation Schools Trust to deliver a new free school whilst maintaining and improving their existing provision at Hope Community School, Southampton and Hope Community School, Sidcup
Agreement was reached in August 2016 for land within the Springhead Park to be used for a permanent site for a 2 form entry primary school with a nursery and there is full support from Kent County Council for this. The Department for Education will now start work to identify an alternative trust to open a school on the Springhead site of the Ebbsfleet Garden City development.
Chair of New Generation Schools Trust, Paul Weston, said: "This is obviously hugely disappointing for us as a Trust, but also for the local community and partners that we have been working with for over 3 years. Opening a Free School is a complex and challenging process and we have worked tirelessly on this project with hundreds of volunteer hours.
We remain resolute on providing the children whom we have the privilege to serve with a high quality learning experience and offering a new, alternative choice for education.”