Provision of new schools

Kent County Council, as the Strategic Commissioner of Education Provision in the county, is responsible for ensuring there are sufficient high-quality places for all learners, while at the same time fulfilling our other responsibilities to raise education standards and be the champion of children and their families in securing good quality education.

Proposal for a new primary free school in Thanington, Canterbury

Our Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2023 to 2027 is key to achieving our aims and identifies the need for new school provision across Kent.

One such need is for a new primary school in Thanington, Canterbury, to open by September 2025.

Under section 6A of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (the ‘free school presumption’) we are therefore inviting sponsors to submit a proposal to run a new primary free school. It will include two forms per year, eventually offering 420 pupil places, and a nursery provision offering 26 full time places.

If you are not on the DfE’s approved sponsor list, you must go through the approval process before submitting an application. Visit the GOV.UK website to apply to be an approved sponsor.

To submit a proposal, complete the application form (PDF, 134.1 KB) and return it to for the attention of Marisa White, Area Education Officer (East Kent). Please refer to the school specification (PDF, 798.0 KB) when completing the application.

As part of the application, you will also need to include:

The deadline for proposals is 4pm on 21 July 2023.

If you would like further information or wish to discuss your application, please contact Marisa White, Area Education Officer by calling 03000 418794.

We will evaluate proposals received and provide the DfE with copies of the proposals and our assessment of them. Our assessment criteria (PDF, 143.5 KB) mirrors, as far as possible, those used by the DfE. These focus on strategic vision, educational capacity and performance, financial planning and operational capacity and governance. We will then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State as to our preferred provider.

The DfE Regional Director for the South East, on behalf of the Secretary of State, will consider the local authority assessments and recommendations before taking the decision on which proposer they judge to be in the best position to take forward the new school. The Regional Director will inform the Local Authority and the successful proposer of its decision, and the Local Authority will inform any unsuccessful proposers.

Here is a list of events and the proposed dates that they will be taking place:

Event Proposed Dates
Community Consultation 7 November to 19 December 2022
Start of the presumption competition - invitation to submit a proposal published 4 May 2023
Deadline for receipt of applications 21 July 2023
KCC informs Department for Education (DfE) of all proposals received Week commencing 24 July 2023
Promoter shortlisting panel meets Week commencing 14 August 2023
Education Commission Assessment Panel considers proposals 15 September 2023
KCC submits proposals to the Secretary of State September 2023
Secretary of State appoints the successful sponsor October/November 2023
New school opens September 2025