Wednesday 1 December 2021
The petition of residents of Sevenoaks,
Declares that Orchards Academy in Swanley is in urgent need of a rebuild due to serious structural problems with the school building; further that all children should be given the opportunity to learn in a safe and welcoming environment; further that the children of Swanley and the surrounding area should have access to a safe and modern school fit for the twenty first century.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to bring forward measures that will ensure that Orchards Academy is rebuilt.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Laura Trott, Official Report, 1 July 2021; Vol. 698, c. 499.]
Observations from The Minister for School Standards (Mr Robin Walker):
The Prime Minister announced a new, 10-year school rebuilding programme in summer 2020. This will replace poor condition school buildings with modern designs that will be net zero carbon in operation, transforming education for thousands of pupils.
We have confirmed the first 100 schools in the programme as part of a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade. I am pleased that Orchards Academy in Swanley was confirmed as being in the programme in July 2021. The Department is currently undertaking a feasibility study, which will determine the scope of the project at the school.
Schools, including Orchards Academy, have been prioritised based on the condition of their buildings. The methodology used to prioritise the schools has been published on gov.uk, along with details of all the schools confirmed so far: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme.