News Blog

TKAT's Shenstone School is entering consultation phase to become an all through provision

Posted on: 22nd Mar 2022

TKAT's Shenstone School is entering consultation phase to become an all through provision. Details of this are listed below, under the heading 'PROPOSALS'

You can find out more Shenstone School by visiting their website:

In response to the growing need to provide high quality additional and urgent local profound multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and severe learning disabilities (SLD) secondary school places for September 2022, a number of options to cater for this increased demand have been considered.

TKAT Trustees have agreed to expand the number of places offered via Shenstone School which will result in 12 to 20 pupils annually continuing their secondary education at this school.

These additional secondary school places will help those who are most vulnerable in the community. This development will complement, not replace, pupils attending Marlborough School, the existing PMLD/SLD school in the area, and will ensure a broader offer, and ensure that all Bexley learners who require an SLD place from year 7 onwards have a local provision available that can meet their needs.

To accommodate these additional numbers and placements, the London Borough of Bexley will provide additional accommodation on a new site. This proposal is subject to formal sign off by the Department for Education (DfE) Regional Schools Commissioner.

Dr Karen Roberts, TKAT CEO commented:

"We are delighted, subject to the consultation DfE consent, to be able to offer the additional places at Shenstone School, in partnership wih the London Borough of Bexley. we understand just how important Shenstone and this additional provision is for our community"



This is a proposal for Shenstone School to expand by up to an additional 140 secondary and sixth form places at the Halt Robin Road site via a phased building programme. 

Shenstone School, part of The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT), currently has capacity for 160 pupils aged between 2 and 11 years, based over two sites one in Crayford and one in Sidcup.  Shenstone School educates pupils with a wide range of special educational needs, including severe, complex and/or profound and multiple learning difficulties alongside other needs including autism and physical disabilities.  

London Borough of Bexley’s school place planning has modelled that there is a need for growth in the secondary sector from September 2022 and that there will need to be a medium-term solution to ensure the needs are met locally. London Borough Bexley (LBB) also acknowledges that a longer-term resolution to the volume of new places over the next 5 years is needed given the inability of current provisions to expand on existing sites. LBB modelling places the current level of demand at between 12-20 places on an annual basis. LBB approached TKAT in order to determine whether we would be willing to work in partnership on developing secondary provision for pupils with severe, complex and/or profound and multiple learning difficulties as an extension of Shenstone School based on the positive success and reputation that Shenstone holds within the special school community of Bexley and beyond. 

In previous years, the LBB and TKAT have successfully worked in partnership to support increased need for SEND places locally, both at Shenstone and at Cleeve Meadow School, where the partnership resulted in a successful free school bid for a school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. 

Consequently, in partnership with LBB, TKAT is proposing that Shenstone School would permanently expand its capacity by extending its age range to include pupils from 11-19 years.  The existing Shenstone sites do not have room for any more students, so these older pupils would be based on a new site in Halt Robin Road, Belvedere on a site which previously housed Woodside School.  The site will be extensively redeveloped to accommodate up to 140 pupils over the course of three phases to reflect the medium and longer term need:

Phase 1

Initial accommodation for between 12 and 20 Year 7 pupils from September 2022.

Phase 2

Refurbishment of the existing school buildings on the site to accommodate up to 60 pupils in Years 7-9.  The anticipated completion date for this phase is September 2023.

Phase 3

Additional accommodation for up to another 80 pupils in Years 10-13. 

The redevelopment of the site at Halt Robin Road, will include all of the ancillary facilities and spaces required for a secondary school catering for pupils with complex needs and disabilities including medical and therapeutic spaces, life skills and cooking facilities, sensory circuits and inside and outside play areas.

Once all three phases are complete, Shenstone School will have a capacity of 300 pupils across three sites. The special educational designations of Shenstone School will remain the same and will be for children that have severe, complex and/or profound and multiple learning difficulties including autism and physical disabilities.

The Background

LBB, in line with most local authorities, continues to experience increasing pressure on SEN places as the number of Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP’s) continues to increase and the identification of SEN needs improves. 

Existing levels of demand for places for children with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) have been able to be accommodated in the primary phase by the expansion of Shenstone School. These children are now reaching secondary age and the first cohort of children will require a secondary space for September 2022.

This insufficiency in current school places for this cohort of children in Bexley is set against a backdrop of a shortage of this provision within the independent school sector. 

The current local school that has the designation to educate children with these needs in the secondary phase is Marlborough School. It operates across two sites and there is no scope for further growth on either site.   LBB has invested just over £45m since 2011 on providing additional SEN places. This investment has included a number of projects which have expanded the number of PMLD and SLD places at both Shenstone and Marlborough SEN schools which has kept children educated locally and minimised travel assistance costs. 

In addition to Shenstone School, TKAT already has a successful local SEND secondary free school in Sidcup, called Cleeve Meadow School, which is for pupils with moderate learning difficulties (MLD). The Trust’s extensive experience and knowledge of supporting complex learners at primary level together with the expertise gained from opening Cleeve Meadow to cater for secondary SEND learners, means that TKAT is ideally placed to support the development of a local secondary provision for children with severe, complex and/or profound and multiple learning difficulties. As a Trust of 45 schools we also have multiple resource units within mainstream schools offering primary and secondary expertise for SEND pupils.

LBB has identified that Shenstone supported by TKAT is the best placed local special school able to support the growing secondary school placement demand. The Shenstone School leadership team has the appropriate experience and expertise to develop the provision to support the rising numbers of pupils with severe and complex learning needs.

LBB and TKAT share a vision of creating a secondary phase of SEND provision on the Halt Robin Road site. Part of this site is already being developed for the Cornerstone School, led by the Trinitas Trust.  The Cornerstone School is designated as a special school for pupils aged 11 - 19 who have a primary diagnosis of autism, and SEMH needs.  The two schools will operate separately in one location, to provide a range of SEND provision to support the local community.


When a special school that is an academy wishes to add more than 20 additional pupil places, change its age range, and expand onto an additional or satellite site, it is required to apply to the Department for Education for consent. Consultation, with various stakeholders, about the proposal is required to be undertaken before the application can be submitted. This is the consultation about whether Shenstone School should expand by an additional 140 secondary and sixth form phase places at the Halt Robin Road site.

At this stage there are no building designs to share. As building proposals are developed for the Halt Robin Road site these would need to progress through the normal planning application and the associated consultation processes.  

The Implications

If the expansion is approved then:

  • Many of our pupils will benefit from being able to stay at Shenstone School from the age of 2 through to 19 without the disruption of transition at the beginning and end of secondary phases;

  • The redevelopment of the Halt Robin Road site will create a SEND hub of two high quality educational Trusts operating independently from separate locations on the  site; 

  • Pupils with SLD and PMLD will be able to access appropriate local provision that meets their needs.

There would be no change to the culture and ethos of Shenstone School. Shenstone would continue to provide high quality education in accordance with the values of TKAT.  Staff want pupils to have the very best chances and to be as independent as possible when they are older. They make sure that what pupils learn at Shenstone is purposeful and relevant. This culture and ethos would be consistent across the three sites, as it is now over two sites. The school would have a single leadership team, as well as site leadership arrangements.  The three sites would have the same term dates and INSET days.

Shenstone has experience from managing its previous growth, already working effectively across two sites and has the capacity, with the support of TKAT, to develop further to include secondary age children.  

Pupils would have opportunities to link across sites, including as part of transition. Teachers and teaching assistants would be site based to support their classes, while the leadership team, specialist practitioners such as therapists and business support staff would work across all sites. There would be shared events for parents and children as well as whole school continuing professional development for staff.

Shenstone School was inspected by Ofsted in October 2019 and the outcome is that the school continues to be a ‘good’ school, where the children are happy and learning is made fun. 

Next Steps

Responses to the consultation will be considered by Shenstone School and TKAT. Following the conclusion of the consultation, it is anticipated that an application will be submitted to the Department for Education, and a decision would be received by Summer 2022.

How to have your say:

To have your say please:

  • Write to Jess Wilks, Asset Development Manager, TKAT, The Atkins Centre, Kemnal Technology College, Sevenoaks Way, TKAT, Sidcup, Kent,DA14 5AA. Please mark your correspondence ‘Shenstone Expansion’; or

  • Email Jess Wilks ( under the title of ‘Shenstone Expansion’; or

  • Attend the public meeting that will be held at 6pm on Thursday 21st April 2022 at Shenstone School, 94 Old Road, Crayford, Kent DA1 4DZ and speak to a member of the team.

The consultation ends on 1st May 2022. Please have your say before then!

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