New Building - Frequently asked Questions

When is this all happening?

The timescale outlined by Kier is for work to commence in May/June 2019, with the new building completed in November/December 2020. The demolishing of the existing building will then begin, with a planned completion in December 2021. These dates are all dependant on various approvals, including planning approval.

Who is paying for this building?

The building is being paid for by the Department for Education (DfE) through the Priority School Buildings Programme – phase 2 (PSBP2). This is part of a £4.4 billion programme aimed at the schools in the worst condition across the country.

What will the school have to pay for?

The school does not need to contribute anything to the construction of the new building. There is also a list of non-building resources that are included as part of the programme, including a new Wi-Fi network, new telephone systems and some furniture and equipment, such as that in science laboratories, Food Technology, Design Engineering and ICT suites. All required external landscaping is also included within the scheme.

Where possible current furniture and equipment (termed ‘legacy’ by the DfE) will be moved from our current building, but there will be some that needs to be replaced, and some new items that will be required.

We would also like to use this as an opportunity to up-date equipment that is at the end of it serviceable life, most particularly with ICT, and to develop the resources and facilities available to our students. The school has some money put aside for this, but we will also be looking to raise more money in the coming year.

Will the school need to sell land to fund this?

No, the school has no plans to sell any of our wonderful site. In fact, the new building will result in us having more open space than we currently do. We are working closely with Kier to discuss how our passion for bio-diversity and the important psychological impact of outside spaces can be further enhanced, for instance with wildflower meadow planting instead of grass seed.

Will the Orchard be affected?

No. We would not countenance anything that affects such an ecologically rich and unique part of our site.

Will there be lots of noise during public examinations?

No, the contractors already have details of the summer 2019 examination timetable, and they will not undertake anything that is disruptive for those taking exams. The same will be true in 2020 and 2021.

Will cars/people be able to access the site as normal during the build?

Yes, the vehicle and pedestrian entrances will be in full use throughout. Construction vehicles will have strict rules about when they can and cannot enter, and someone from Kier will be stationed at the front of the school to control access to the site.

We will have more limited parking on site during the building, but post-build we will have exactly the same number of car parking spaces as we do now.

Will you be widening the vehicle access onto the site?

No, this project is solely for building replacement, and does not cover access or highways. There may be some alterations to roads on the school site to accommodate large vehicles, but no changes are planned to the entrance.  This means that we will continue to ask parents not to drive onto the school site when dropping off/picking up. 

Will there be noise when work is undertaken?

In short, yes. There will be noise involved in both the construction of the new building and the demolition of the current one. We will, as far as is possible, work closely with Kier to manage the impact of this.

Will students still have lockers?

Yes, as now, students will be allocated a locker for storage of their equipment.

Will the building have access for those with limited mobility?

Yes, post build, and for the first time, someone with limited mobility or using a wheelchair will be able to access all parts of the school. The new building will include a lift for access to all levels, and disabled toilet facilities on all floors.

Are the classrooms/spaces the same size as those in our current school?

There are a number of different room sizes in our current building, some of which are smaller and some of which are bigger than those in the proposed building. For example, the eight classrooms along the top and bottom maths corridor (excluding computer rooms) are all smaller than the classrooms in the new building. Some of the rooms along the English corridor (for instance room 24) are larger, although if you take out the empty spaces at the back of the room, it is not significantly different. The same is true for science laboratories; some will be larger, some will be smaller.

For other areas of the school it is similar; the new canteen will be approximately the same size as our current one, as is the library. The new drama studio is a little larger (and purpose built for drama), the sports hall is twice the size of our gym, and the fitness/dance studio is 50% bigger than our current one. The school hall will be smaller, although a bleacher seating system will make it logistically easier to use for assemblies and lectures, and accommodation for DT, Art, Textiles and Food Technology will all be in purpose built spaces, some larger and some smaller than the current provision.  

All new teaching accommodation will meet the latest specifications (Building Bulletin 103) the DfE places on classroom size. There are similar strict requirements covering heating, cooling, ventilation, daylight and lighting in the DfE Output Specification.

What colour will the inside of the school be?

There are a number of areas yet to be decided, this is one of them. Others include the final look of outside spaces and outside shelter. Some of these areas are under the remit of the PSBP programme, others will be for the school to decide and fund. These are areas where student involvement will be vital.

Will there be a danger from asbestos when the old building is demolished?

No, there will be no danger. It is true that when our building was constructed in the late 1940s/early 1950s asbestos was a commonly used material. We have an asbestos register that identifies all of the places where we know it is present, but contractors will need to check that there is not encapsulated asbestos in other places. Such asbestos does not pose any danger to users of the building now. This means that the process to demolish the current building, and the length of time that this will take, is far longer and more complicated than in many schools. To give some idea of this, usually schools are demolished in 3 to 6 months, but a year has been allocated on our site. Specialist contractors will undertake a full survey of the building once we have left, identifying and remove all asbestos prior to demolition. From the day that we leave the existing building and occupy the new one no access will be allowed back into the existing building.

Will lots of trees be cut down to build the new school?

To undertake the building, and particularly the demolition, they will need to remove a small number of trees from the site. These will be replaced by new trees. Full details are shown on the landscape drawings. They will also need to remove some of the hedgerows to site the new building. Once completed, our site will offer more opportunities for us to use and develop the outside spaces at the school. The extent of our grounds will be more visible, particularly towards the Orchard side of the school, with the school set further back from Old Dover Road.

Will we lose views of Canterbury in the new design, and will it be dark inside classrooms?

When the three floor extension was added to the main building in 1996 is was certainly the case that the school lost three floors of windows, similar to those looking into the Green Court, and many of the views towards Canterbury. Some rooms in this part of the building also do suffer from considerable lack of light due to the poor room orientation, small windows and strip lighting.

The new building will make as much use of natural light as possible, and promises to have better views towards the city and cathedral than is currently the case. Every single classroom has windows, with the exception of the Drama Studio, where we do not want windows! When interior lighting is used, it will meet more stringent standards than that currently installed.  

Will there be opportunities for students to be involved in the process?

Absolutely, both during the next planning and construction phases. We have started discussions with both architects and construction about the format this could take; when we have more information we will pass it on. Both the construction and engineering industries would like to attract more women, and we will make as much educational use of this process as we can to show our students the possible careers available in these industries.

Will the new facilities be available for community use outside of school hours?

Absolutely. When construction is complete we will be able to take bookings for a number of the new spaces. We will be entering in a community use agreement with KCC and Canterbury City Council to show our commitment to opening up our facilities to the public. Any use outside of school hours will create a revenue stream for the school, money that can then be spent to the benefit of our students and staff. 

What can I do if I have a question about the building?

There is a box in reception where students can write and leave questions; this will be periodically emptied and questions will be answered. Where the same questions are asked, we will add them to this list.  When the building is in the planning application stage, anyone can make representation to Kent County Council (KCC), details can be found on their website about how to do this. Many people who attended the public consultation have already completed forms directly to Kier. If you have a question for the school, please send it in to