News

Michael Howard to get a 'grilling'....1 February 2003

Contributed by localrags on Jan 31, 2003 - 06:10 PM

Local MP Michael Howard will be visiting the Churchill School on 7th March to see the School Council in operation and answer the children's questions.

The forward thinking Churchill School encourages children to speak up for the oppressed and to speak out against wrong doing.

They recognise in each other natural leaders and the School Council system allows those elected to help change the school to a better place.

The questions could be tough and Headteacher Jennie Carter considers Mr Howard to be " A brave man, indeed!"

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Local schools in plans for disruptive pupils....30 January 2003

Contributed by localrags on Jan 30, 2003 - 11:43 AM

KCC are aiming to provide more places in special schools for pupils with more complex needs such as behaviour difficulties and autism. The proposals, which recommend significantly expanding five special schools, follow a lengthy review into the provision of special education.

KCC’s Cabinet Member for Education Standards and Pupil Services, Paul Carter said: “We are setting out to provide a more flexible, consistent system of provision which works closely in partnership with mainstream schools and provides more places for specific categories of need where demand is growing."

Under the new proposals this will be the first time Kent will have schools specifically designated for disruptive pupils with learning difficulties.

Three special secondary schools are proposed, including, Swinford Manor School in Ashford and Portal House School in Dover. These will cater for children with severe behaviour, emotional and social development needs

Five special schools which include the Harbour School in Dover will cater for primary and secondary children, with behaviour and learning difficulties.

Secondary pupils with severe communication needs would go to one of four schools – Grange Park in West Malling, Archers Court High School in Dover with its special Aspen II provision, Stone Bay in Thanet and Foxwood School in Shepway which would amalgamate with Highview School.

Locally Dover Whitfield Primary with Aspen I provision, Archers Court High School with Aspen II provision, and Shepway Foxwood School One would cater for children with profound, severe and complex needs.

Mr Carter added: “It is important to remember that these proposals are not yet cast in stone. We will be embarking on a series of public consultations for each special school to ensure that the right decisions are being made for the future of pupils and individual schools.�

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Scaffolding comes down from new centre....30 January 2003

Contributed by localrags on Jan 30, 2003 - 09:18 AM

Yes it really does look as if we will be getting the Community Centre..

As the scaffolding was removed, the building dominates the area, rising high above the surrounding homes.

The Hall is scheduled to open in March.

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Graffiti vandals may not be locals claims councillor....30 January 2003

Contributed by localrags on Jan 30, 2003 - 09:01 AM

Graffiti which has appeared on the Village Hall may not be down to local youngsters according to councillor and youth worker Peter Smith.

The paint daubed walls were spotted by Peter and he reported it to the police.

Hawkinge has recently been allocated a PC and a Community Warden and Cllr Smith told the Gazette that he is encouraged by the way the scheme is working.

Peter said of the graffiti: "The possibility is that it was done by migrant older people from outside Hawkinge.

"CCTV in Folkestone could mean youngsters move to other areas where there are no cameras.

"I am pressing the authorities for more police time in the area."

Parish Council Chairman John Heasman was disgusted by the latest vandalism.

He said: " I think some of it is absolutely disgusting but what annoys me, is why didn't they ask if they could come and design a mural or something.

"It is a shame as I think there is some talent there which is being wasted".

Hawkinge village has suffered many vandalism and graffiti attacks.

In recent weeks, the Bakers window was smashed, the chip shop suffered the same fate as did the village hall and community centre. Graffiti covers the side of the village hall and shortly after the leisuredrome was painted, graffiti artists were at work on the front of the building.

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Heals at the Gazette Marketplace

Contributed by localrags on Jan 29, 2003 - 02:29 PM

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Council make £2m savings....29 January 2003

Contributed by localrags on Jan 29, 2003 - 01:03 PM

Dover District Council has saved more than £ 2 million savings in a restructuring programme.

The Council’s budget report shows that the savings for 2002/03 have been made. The report does identify that further savings of £ 350,000 will be required during 2003/04 and the Council remains confident that these savingscan be made.

There are proposals for a Council Tax rise of 6½ % for 2003/04 for District Council purposes (to £ 112.95 for Band D properties) of which 1½ % will be ring fenced for investment in tourism-related expenditure.

It is not thought that any further redundancies will be needed to make the necessary savings next year, although some of the 30 vacant posts may need to be remain unfilled.

Cllr Peter Wells, Leader of Dover District Council said: “We have consistently stated that we needed to make this level of savings, and following extensive public consultation and a lot of hard work, this is exactly what we have achieved. It has not been an easy process, but the sound and prudent management of the Council has led us through a far reaching restructuring, and we are confident that these figures represent a sound financial basis for the future of the district.�

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Think "safe" during strike urges fire boss....28 January 2003

Contributed by localrags on Jan 28, 2003 - 06:00 PM

Kent Fire Brigade is asking the public to help reduce the number of 999 calls during the strikes scheduled for 28 January and 1 February

Because of the limited resources that will be available, people are being asked to be extra careful in their homes and follow Kent Fire Brigade’s safety check-list

Chief Fire Officer Peter Coombs said: “People can help us by following the check-list which highlights things such as checking your smoke alarm is working, closing doors at night to stop fire spreading and practising your escape plan.�

A check-list and booklet has also been produced for businesses and is available at www.kent.fire-uk.org. Members of the public can telephone the Community Fire Safety Team on 01622 698360 for copies.

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Carphone Warehouse at the Gazette Marketplace

Contributed by localrags on Jan 28, 2003 - 05:40 PM


Phew! hottest January day ever....27 January 2003

Contributed by localrags on Jan 27, 2003 - 02:36 PM

January temperature records were smashed as the sun and mild air brought a touch of summer to the county.

Thermometers in West Malling reached a staggering 17.1C , that's 63F in old money.

This broke the previous best in Gravesend in 1999 when it reached 16C.

Temperatures which are more usual in Marrakesh won't last though.

Weather forecasters say that by Thursday we could have snow with figures of just 2C during the day.

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KCC blames Government for 12.5% council tax rise...27 January 2003

Contributed by localrags on Jan 27, 2003 - 11:13 AM

KCC claim: "A deliberate Government shift in funding for councils away from the south east has hit Kent County Council hard and has led to a proposed increase in council tax of 12.5 per cent in Kent – and 15%-20% across south east county councils."

Kent’s rise is lower than its neighbouring county councils. Kent County Council has set out budget proposals that drastically cut back on funding for central administration in order to hold back the council tax rise. Job losses of 300 are expected, to be taken over 3 years.

Kent will this year be passing on all the spending increases for schools outlined by the Government but not fully backed by national grant funding. There is a similar commitment by the Council for social care services.

Kent’s budget dilemma comes just weeks after the County Council was named as one of the best run councils in the country following a nationally introduced inspection.

Council Leader, Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, said, “This is a bitter pill. Our staff have performed so well and now we have been asked to perform mission impossible. Our Government grant has been increased by 3.9 per cent – compared to twice as much for councils in the north and midlands. At the same time we have been told to increase schools spending by 6.6 per cent and funding for services for the elderly and vulnerable is to rise by 8.6 per cent. Only cuts and council tax rises can fill the gap.

“Our commitment to essential front-line services remains unshakeable and we will fully support them. But we also have a commitment to the council tax payer and we cannot just pass on substantial extra costs that have not been funded by the Government.

“We will therefore be radically reducing our central administrative budget by 25 per cent - not an easy job as our central services have been judged highly efficient during national inspection and we already have the lowest wage bill as a percentage of budget of any County Council.�

The fact that Kent received far less than the average Government grant increase is made far worse because every 1% rise in council spending costs a 2.89% increase in council tax.

Kent schools were told by the Government Education Minister that they would receive more than 6% in funding, however the Government grant allocation rose by only 3.2%. For next year the County Council will fill this schools funding gap – forcing up the council tax.

Sir Sandy said the County had fought long and hard to prevent Government grant being moved away from the South East and was very grateful for the valuable and united support of school representatives, care home leaders, Kent’s Labour and Conservative MPs plus the health service, police and fire leaders.

“Everyone knows it costs more to employ people and run services in the south east, yet the grants have been switched to other parts of the country. Kent has very serious areas of deprivation the equal of anything in the north and midlands. I totally reject any claim that people in the south east are more able to afford council tax increases,� said Sir Sandy.

The council tax recommendations for Kent went before the County Council Cabinet today and will be finally decided at a full meeting of the Council on 20 February.

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