Brenchley and Matfield school was founded more than 175 years ago by the Church to serve our local and wider community. As we approach the bicentennial anniversary of our school, we look to ensure its viability and the academic opportunities expected in the 21st century.
The proposal is for a new single-form entry school to be built directly South of the current site on land that is currently owned by Alan and Maria Walker. In lieu of cash payment, Mr. and Mrs. Walker have agreed to gift approximately four acres of their land in exchange for planning permission for a new house immediately next to the new school and one property within the new development.
The land currently housing the school will be used to develop a mix of housing as identified through recent widespread consultation with the villages – especially the results in the Parish Plan that was completed a couple of years ago.. A proposal for 41 homes, determined by community needs, will provide the necessary funding to cover the costs of the new school scheme and provide some capital to subsidise community projects feeding ongoing revenues. This offers a unique opportunity for the goals of the school and the village to be met, safeguards the future of our children’s education and has the potential to provide financial support for a range of village improvements.
The benefits to the students include:
• Brand new state of the art, environmentally friendly school
• Larger classrooms and communal areas (1550m2 -> 2225m2)
• Equivalent outside play area (plus an additional 1000m2 at car park level)
• Full size sports pitch
• Increased car park space (~20 -> 80) inc. drop off zone
• School on same side of road as existing car park
The benefits to the Village include:
• A mix of housing for Parish needs
• Pedestrian avenues and communal seating areas for stop and chat
• Potentially free electricity
• Surplus to national grid to generate funds for new villages projects and causes e.g. electric car charging points
• A new community “Civic” building supporting today’s and tomorrows anticipated community needs
In 2014 a 10-year strategic plan was outlined to consider the future of the school. It was made clear that due to escalating maintenance responsibilities and a reduced budget could not support the needs of the school and our students. In 2015 a Parish plan outlined multiple objectives that included considerations for a school in the village and on a new sight “if” necessary.
Following a professional survey of the current school buildings, the Governors determined that a new school would best serve the needs of the children and the village. Money was raised through a grant application that supplied the funds for legal advice, drawings and a survey of the proposed site for the new build. In 2018 Brenchley21 was organised to drive the plan. This year we will hold parent and public presentations as we prepare for planning permission. Upon approval from the village council and planning permission, contractors will begin construction of the new school to be delivered by September 2021.
Journey so far – recap
2014 School Strategic Plan – path to revival
2015 Parish Plan – Data gathering
2017 Neighbourhood Plan – process due diligence
2017 Community Interest Company B21 CIC – action starts
2017/18 Grants and project kick off – professional engaged and funded
2019 Scheme refinement and community expansion and engagement. BandM21.com created