Maidstone’s proposed St Augustine Academy is to open on the 1st September 2011 in the former Astor of Hever School buildings.

Academy sponsor, Woodard Schools and Kent County Council have requested the change in opening date to ensure that the disruption to staff and pupils is minimised as the predecessor school closes and the Academy, with its new specialisms and direction, opens.

Peter Rawlinson, Academies Development Director for Woodard Schools said;

“In the current economic climate, funding for the new Academy building from the Department for Education still needs to be confirmed. Although we were keen to open on the planned date of the 1st January 2011 we now believe that it is in the best interests of pupils, staff and parents for us to delay opening until the new academic year.

“This date change has many benefits. It will allow us to continue to liaise with the Department for Education and secure the funding needed for the new Academy buildings. In addition it allows us to refurbish parts of the predecessor school over the summer months as it is made ready for the Academy and for the new curriculum, minimising disruption to staff and students.

Rosalind Turner, Managing Director, Children, Families and Education, Kent County Council, agrees, and commented:

“We know that there has been much coverage in the press and local speculation regarding the building programme and the opening of Academies across the UK. Woodard Schools and Kent County Council remain enthusiastic and look forward to opening the St Augustine Academy on the 1st September 2011.”

Working with project managers, Mouchel Management Consulting, and the Principal Designate of the new Academy, Peter Midwinter,Woodard Schools and Kent County Council will continue to prepare for the opening throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.

Parents and members of the community can keep up to date on the Academy progress at www.woodardacademieskent.co.uk

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