You will find my initial thoughts, when the story broke last week, here.
I believe the site, which has now seen the start of construction for the girls' annexe, WILL be expanded to provide additional accommodation, but there are several possibilities the outcome of which may depend on any new regulation.
- As suggested by the Sunday Times, but I believe very unlikely, a new three form entry grammar school. A stand-alone three form entry is smaller than any current Kent grammar, and with financial pressures on schools causing serious economies, I do not believe it would be cost-effective.
- A three form boys’ annexe, working in conjunction with Weald of Kent Grammar, but managed by another school. This was of course an early concept, but I have never seen it as likely, with too many practical difficulties behind two schools managing one set of students, as underlined by KCC’s failure to attract such a sponsor in spite of many efforts.
- Most likely is surely the expansion of the current annexe, possibly through a change of regulation and not necessarily a Parliamentary Bill, which would allow the admission of both boys and girls at age 11. Already, and not requiring any new legislation, the Chairman of Governors of Weald of Kent outlined a proposal back in January to admit boys as well as girls into the annexe Sixth Form from September 2018. This is already clearly being discussed with KCC and I anticipate it will happen, drawing students primarily from the Sevenoaks area predominantly from Tunbridge Wells boys, Knole Academy and the private sector.