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Sunday, 11 September 2016 22:57

Sevenoaks Annexe

There has been considerable press coverage, following the claim in the Sunday Times that there will be a new school on the Sevenoaks annexe site for boys.

It is of course not that simple. Quite simply, there are no regulations at present in place to allow any such development, not even a boys’ annexe.

Paul Carter, Leader of KCC, who has driven the project from its beginning and now appears to have his vision fully vindicated, appears quite clear that buildings will be constructed over and above those for the girls' annexe. There is a fall-back position in that it is reported that if no school or annexe is allowed, alternative short term use is being planned.

Sevenoaks

It has been clear for years that Mrs May, even as Home Secretary was in favour of expansion of grammar schools, possibly by creation of annexes, as I wrote in November 2014. Her current ideas are clearly proving very controversial, and I see no point in adding to the debate.

However, as I also wrote in May 2015 after the General Election, about a possible boys’ annexe in Sevenoaks to balance the one being built for the girls of Weald of Kent Grammar: “the pressure to sort this one could become irresistible!” It is starting to look that way.......

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
Last modified on Monday, 12 September 2016 09:52

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