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TKAT CEO responds to concerns over Thomas Bennett Community College proposed cuts

CEO of TKAT Dr Karen Roberts pens response following Council Leaders emailed concerns.

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The CEO of TKAT has responded after Crawley Borough Council Leader Peter Lamb sent a strong email citing serious concerns over proposed cuts to Thomas Bennett Community College.

In his email which Cllr Lamb posted a copy of on twitter he said:

“The challenging financial situation faced by schools in Crawley is well-understood by the local  community and I know all too well the tough decisions which are being forced upon every public sector organisation, including my own.

Before adding:

“I would urge you to do everything within your power to ensure that cuts to the frontline provision are a final step and kept to the absolute minimum.”

TKAT CEO Dr Karen Roberts has been fast to respond and speaking to CN24 in a statement said:

“During the consultation period over the restructure at Thomas Bennett Community College, any feedback from the local community is valued and the concerns raised by Cllr Lamb will be taken into account. The restructure was not a decision taken lightly, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure we come to the best possible resolution.

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Our priority, as always, is both to ensure high standards of education are maintained and that we are doing our utmost to support all members of staff. This means identifying roles within The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT), conversations with other local schools who may be looking for staff and working directly with agencies that can help find other opportunities if needed.

As noted to Cllr Lamb in my response, we would encourage anyone else with concerns to speak to us.

However, while the consultation is ongoing it would not be appropriate to comment any further on possible plans.”

With so much dependant on the consultation it is now more paramount than ever that residents, parents and anyone concerned voice their concerns directly to TKAT.

If you would like to add any concern you can contact TKAT directly through their website at www.tkat.org 

Education

Henry Smith: Schools and funding, more money and more support

In his article this week, Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about schools funding and the support needed.

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Like many parents in Crawley I’m concerned about issues at Thomas Bennett Community College regarding changes announced by their parent body, Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT).

Immediately on being made aware of these pressures I spoke with TKAT management, and have raised the issue with the Department for Education. I’ve also spoken out in the House of Commons with the new Education Secretary and it’s a cause I continue to pursue.

Around one quarter of the school’s funds are going on PFI loan repayments, following its rebuild more than a decade ago. As Leader of West Sussex County Council at the time I called on the then-Government to ensure direct funding of the project, however Tony Blair’s administration stated that it was either PFI or no rebuilding of Thomas Bennett.

West Sussex schools are to receive an extra £28 million in funding through the National Funding Formula. I’m calling for additional financial support to recognise increasing costs borne by schools and, in particular, special educational needs.

I welcome assurances that there are to be more staff to support SEND students at Thomas Bennett. As a Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia & other Specific Learning Difficulties these are causes I’ll continue to raise.

Under the new National Funding Formula (NFF), Thomas Bennett Community College is to receive an additional 12.6 per cent increase in pupil-led funding from Government.

I’ll continue to pursue this situation with the Education Secretary, with the messages I’ve received from Crawley parents very much in mind.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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