Prime Minister signs off with Paddock Wood free school

Gary Palmer

In one of his final acts as Prime Minister, David Cameron approved the opening of a free school in Paddock Wood.

St Andrew’s Primary School was given the go-ahead by the Department for Education last Tuesday (July 12), the day before Mr Cameron handed over the keys of No 10 to Theresa May.

The Church of England primary was one of 30 schools to be launched on the last day of his tenure in what was one of his flagship policies.

Mr Cameron said: “Free schools have been at the heart of this government’s education reforms which have seen more than 1.4 million more children in good or outstanding schools since 2010.

“More than 300 have been created since I became Prime Minister and 200 are set to open, meaning tens of thousands more young people, many from disadvantaged areas, finally have a choice of a good education that helps them reach their full potential.

He signed off by saying: “I am proud of what this government has achieved, working with heads and teachers to raise standards so that our young people have the best possible start in life.”

The two-form entry school was proposed by the Tenax Schools Trust in association with Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells and St Andrew’s Church in Paddock Wood. It will also be supported by Paddock Wood Primary School.

Ian Bauckham, Executive Head of Tenax, said: “We are delighted that, working with St Andrew’s Church, our proposal for a new primary school for the growing town of Paddock Wood has been accepted by the Department for Education.

“We intend to create a school which provides additional places to meet the needs created by new housing, genuine choice for parents, and a church school of which we can be proud.”


  • David Cameron’s Conservative government decreed in the last Budget that all schools would be forced to become centrally funded ‘academies’ by 2022.
  • That policy was then abandoned in May after the threat of industrial action by teachers and dissent among Tory MPs about existing high-performing schools.
  • Free schools were encouraged at the same time as academies under the Academies Act 2010, and the roll-out of hundreds more remains high on the agenda.
  • Unlike academies, they can be set up by a variety of non-government agencies, such as parents, teachers, businesses, charities, trusts or religious groups.

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