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Welcome to
Cranbrook & Sissinghurst Parish Council

Cranbrook & Sissinghurst

Welcome

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council serves an exceptionally beautiful and commercially significant swathe of the Weald of Kent.  

The attractive market town of Cranbrook and the nearby pretty village of Sissinghurst form the nucleus of a vibrant and diverse community bounded by ancient woods and forests and enclosing rich farmland.

The varied landscape and the vagaries of history have shaped both the character and appearance of the area. The Union Windmill symbolises the crucial role of agriculture in the region while the magnificent St Dunstan’s Church recalls the prosperous medieval cloth industry. Cranbrook School, founded in 1518, is a powerful presence in the town, a constant reminder of the importance of youth and the future within a historic context. The potent attraction of historic buildings is perfectly exemplified by Sissinghurst Castle Gardens – a world famous, much visited National Trust property with a fascinating past.

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council is dedicated to preserving its remarkable legacy by fostering an environment in which farming, education and tourism can continue to thrive and benefit local businesses and services.

Explore Services & Information

Agendas and Minutes

Information on parish council agendas and minutes.

Cake Magazine

Read the latest issue and back catelogue of the Parish Magazine.

Upcoming events

Find out about all the latest events coming up in the area.

Be in the know

“Be in the know” is a free email newsletter service to keep you informed about everything to do with Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council and the community they serve.

Support Weald Schooling

What is it?

Support Weald Schooling is a campaign to gather local support to demand a new, non-selective secondary school for The Weald.

Why is it needed?

The rural areas are deprived of secondary education places: the High Weald is recognised as being a significant ‘cold spot’ by the Department for Education. Put bluntly, this means there is inadequate education provision at secondary school level as they are failing to meet the demand for places. This is resulting in our children across the High Weald having to travel for long times and distances to attend secondary schools in Maidstone, Paddock Wood, Tenterden or Wadhurst.

What is the impact?

As the majority of these children are dependent on school buses, it means they cannot take part in after school clubs.  Travelling from great distances means their friendship groups are scattered across a large area. Equally, the rural areas suffer as there is no sense of community.

Whilst there is academically selective provision, it cannot cater for all who pass the early age exam.  Those who do not pass are sent to schools already catering for a vast number of pupils.

We are also aware that they do not have a good Ofsted profile for children on a pupil premium.

How many children are being affected?

We have identified that in 2023, there were 525 Year 6 children across The Weald who attended primary schools within 7 miles of Cranbrook.  Many such children, and their families, would greatly benefit by having an alternative secondary school closer to their home.

All parishes are seeing planning developments which will bring more families into our communities, meaning there will be more children year on year.

 

 What we have Learned

 We have had two very informative meetings where our concerns were heard by KCC and Leigh Academy Trust (LAT)

We have learned the Department of Education and KCC budgets have very strict guidelines on criteria for new secondary schools and the first question is always ‘how many students would come to the school?’

Current KCC numbers indicate a small shortfall in places, but many of you will have felt the pain of rejection from the school of your choice, be it through school roles being closed or the school is not deemed your ‘closest school’.  You will also be aware of the great many houses that have been built, and are continuing to be built, in our parishes.  There is an ever-growing number of families in our community.

The transfer of the failing High Weald Academy from Brook Learning Trust to LAT resulted in its closure due to very low student numbers, unmanageable behaviour and the need to start again.

Since then, LAT has created Snowfields, a special needs school for severely neurodiverse children as a centre in Kent. It is performing extremely well and is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

LAT is open to the idea of running a non selective secondary school for the High Weald and indicated there was space for that on the remains of the Snowfield campus.  But they also made very clear that the DfE would not consider a new school unless there was a strong numerical need.

In addition, KCC believes the need for school places is far more intense in other areas so unless there is a clear, numerically proven need, we are unlikely to be at the top of the list for investment.

This means we have an uphill battle.

There is still a lot of work to do and the General Election outcome on July 4th may make a difference (although it is unlikely there will be new money whoever forms the new government)

 

What can you do?

  • Sign the petition by scanning the QR code or visiting supportwealdschooling.co.uk
  • Tell others and get them to sign it
  • Keep involved in the campaign by following updates on our facebook page (Support Weald Schooling) or on your parish council website
  • Be prepared to respond and support when ask

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Your involvement could make a great difference to a lot of families.

Upcoming events

St. Dunstan’s Church Cranbrook

30

July

2024

Councillor Surgery – July

25

June

2024

Councillor Surgery – June

Visitor Attractions

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council serves an exceptionally beautiful and commercially significant swathe of the Weald of Kent.

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