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News : 01 November 2019

Turner Schools is delighted to announce that construction plans for the Turner Free School (TFS)’s permanent building have been given the green light by the local authority planning committee.

The plans covered not only the technical design of the school building but also how TFS would handle any potential impact the work made on the local community. Now that the plans have been approved by the planning committee, a date can be set for construction to begin.

Plans for the new building were released earlier this year, providing a preview of what the finished school will look like. The school will boast state-of-the-art facilities to ensure every student receives a high-quality education, as well as developing their non-academic qualities.

One key feature of the proposed building is a lecture theatre – to allow all TFS scholars to learn in a ‘university style’ for some of the time. This will set the tone for the ambitious and academically challenging education they expect, as well as serving as good preparation ahead of the students’ future in higher education.

The new building will have space for dedicated dining facilities, so that staff and students can sit down to lunch together. All students benefit from this arrangement, building on the strong family ethos that is central to the school.

The news comes as Turner Schools announces the appointment of Mike Buchanan as Chairman. Mr Buchanan was previously Headteacher of Ashford School, part of the high performing United Learning group, and currently leads the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), the professional association of headteachers of leading independent schools.

He has previously helped to establish two academies in London, as well as the Wye Free School, and has experience in secondary education, all-through schools and boarding. He has held a variety of leadership posts in London and elsewhere, is a governor at several independent schools, a National Leader of Education, and a trustee of a children’s charity.

Jo Saxton, CEO of Turner Schools, said:

“We are delighted to have had the planning committee confirm our plans for the new school building. Everyone at Turner Schools is excited for the new school building, and it’s fantastic to tell them that we will soon be breaking ground on the project.

“The Turner Free School has had a great start and we have been oversubscribed for the second year running. The school is delivering a powerful education and we know that this will only get better once they are in place in a truly first-rate school building. There is still work to do, but we have come another step closer to their permanent site.”

Kristina Yates, Principal of Turner Free School, said:

“This is a really positive step forward and we are looking forward to the construction work getting started. Everyone at Turner Free School is excited by the thought of the new building and really looking forward to moving into our new home.

“I am so proud of our staff and students for how well they have worked at our existing school site. Once we get settled into our new building, we can take this to the next level and ensure that even more scholars can access the powerful education we will provide.”

Cllr John Collier, ward member for Cheriton, spoke positively about the proposal at the meeting:

“This is a very exciting proposal. It can only benefit the town of Folkestone and the children who are educated here.”