Campaigners take Kent council to judicial review to save threatened Pent Valley school

Save Pent Valley school, demo on 2.4.16, photo Pete Fry

Save Pent Valley school, demo on 2.4.16, photo Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Kelly Griffiths, parent of a year 10 student at Pent Valley, is taking legal action against Kent County Council.

Public Interest Lawyers have since filed an application for permission for judicial review on behalf of Ms Griffiths.

This is arguing that the consultation on closing the school was unlawful, that commitments made by the council to keep the school open gave rise to a substantive legitimate expectation, that the council failed to provide adequate reasons for closing the school and that the council did not take into account the future demand for school places and lack of capacity.

The school, Pent Valley Technology College, is due to close substantially in September 2016 and completely in September 2017. This is despite a commitment in June 2015 that the school would be supported by the council and kept open. Parents both at Pent Valley and from other schools are opposed to the closure.

The alternative schools to which it is proposed pupils are moved are understood to be full or over-subscribed. The council itself supports the idea of a new school opening for pupils just 12 months after Pent Valley is due to close.

“The threat to close Pent Valley by the education department at Kent council tramples over the hopes and aspirations of young people in our local community” says Bethany Smith, a Pent Valley student.

Seth Cruse, Unison education convenor in Kent local government, said: “This is a further attack on our community, Unison members are facing redundancies, hardship and an uncertain future.”

Eric Segal, secretary of South East Kent Trades Union Council and Unite the Union branch secretary, said: “The legal challenge is an integral part of our trade union and community-led campaign to halt the threat to close Pent Valley school and shows that we will not be silenced.