We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Campaigning to save Harcourt Primary School, Cheriton

Harcourt Closure Protest - pupils and parents

Pupils and Parents show their support for Harcourt School

VICTORY! Following the huge campaign by parents, governor, local residents and local campaigners, Kent County Council announced on 15th September that the plans to merge Harcourt and Morehall Primary Schools had been withdrawn, and Harcourt School had been saved. On the same day, they announced Selsted School had also been reprieved. Congratulations to all involved!

Below is the most recent news on the Harcourt campaign, and details of the campaign itself.

The Kent Local Education Authority has recommended that Conservative Kent Council Council "merge" Harcourt and Morehall Primary Schools in Folkestone onto the Morehall School site (effectively closing Harcourt). School governors, parents and local campaigners are fighting to save Harcourt Primary School.

The closure was discussed by Kent County Council's "School Organisation Advisory Board" on 18th May. They were really impressed at the fantastic local support for the school. They had received lots of letters and emails, took a copy of our 1,100+ signature petition, heard about our demonstration - and there were a lot of Harcourt parents there too!

The great news is that instead of deciding to close the school immediately, they have decided to hold a full consultation to hear ALL local views before making a final decision. Round one to us, but there is a long way to go!

All concerned people were asked to write before 14 July to put their views on the closure. Motions to Shepway District and Folkestone Town Councils proposed by Lib Dems Lynne Beaumont and Tim Prater respectively were passed and the views of those Councils were given to Kent County Council as a part of the consultation process.

Why Harcourt Primary School Should Not Close

  • The governing body of Harcourt Primary School are well aware of the issues at the school and have been working with staff and parents to resolve them
  • Through hard work, the school received a "notice to improve" at the Ofsted inspection when many people including the Local Education Authority thought it would be much worse.
  • The skills of the Governing body has been appreciated as three members of the Governing Body were appointed to the Governing Body of George Spurgeon.
  • The Governing Body showed strong leadership by appointing a new headteacher from outside the school.
  • The new headteacher has continued to build on the good work started and standards are much improved. Actual Key Stage 1 SATs results are significantly up and the projected results for Key Stage 2 SATs show similar improvements, as evidenced by the fact that almost aquarter of our Year 6 pupils are going to grammar schools in September.
  • There has been a steady increase in the school numbers this year against the trend for the area. As of 12 June, 17 pupils had confirmed to join the school in September.
  • Harcourt is a single form entry school with good accommodation and grounds which are very secure for the pupils.
  • It is the only single form non-Church school in the area.
  • There is a very strong nursery provision at Harcourt looking to increase in size.
  • Governors and Headteacher are planning to provide access to laptops for all children.
  • Harcourt is at the centre of a very deprived community and a significant number of the pupils are from that community. Priority 17 of Shepway's Children and Young People's Plan specifically targets maintaining schools at the heart of a community.
  • Closing the school redices the self-esteem and finances of that community and the children, especially where there are costs of new uniforms and increased travel.
  • The Morehall school site is not suitable for a significant increase in traffic - there is regular traffic chaos in the area each school day already.
  • The future use of the site is undecided, despite being described by education chiefs as "an excellent school site". The closure could lead to redevelopment or housing.
  • Harcourt Primary School should not be closed for lots of reasons, including:
  • Closing Harcourt will disrupt the education of its current pupils (including those with disabilities and other problems), many of whom are distraught at the thought of leaving their school.
  • Harcourt is a well-liked and supported local school with great grounds, purpose built buildings, a popular headteacher and improving school results
  • Traffic congestion around the Morehall School site is already horrendous - more parents and children there will lead to gridlock and accidents
  • Closing Harcourt School would weaken the local community
  • There is a lot of uncertainty of future pupil numbers locally, especially with troop redeployments at the nearby Gurhka barracks

The response of parents and children at the school, has already been fantastic. A demonstration on Monday 15th May was a real community experience, with literally hundreds of supporters, parents and children with home made banners, placards and campaign t-shirts chanting for the future of their school.

How You Can Help the "Save Our School" Harcourt Primary School Campaign

The Merger Proposals

The Kent Local Education Authority report proposing merger ("PROPOSALS FOR THE REDUCTION OF SURPLUS CAPACITY IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN THE SHEPWAY DISTRICT") was presented to the School Organisation Advisory Board (SOAB) by the Area Education officer on Thursday 18th May. The report proposes both the amalgamation of Morehall Primary School and Harcourt Primary School and closure of Selsted CE (VC) Primary School. The board listened to local parents, and has called for a public consultation with parents and local residents before it makes a decision.

About Harcourt and Morehall Primary Schools

Morehall School was listed as having "serious weaknesses" by Ofsted at the end of 2005. Although an October 2005 report has shown Morehall School is improving in many areas (following a poor Ofsted report in February 2005 listing the school as having "serious weaknesses"), there is still concern that a merger could create new problems which halt the schools improvement.

With many thanks to Harcourt parent Tara Gilham for providing supporting information and links.