UPDATE (22nd October): It is becoming very apparent from Telephone Consultations and other enquiries, that Trinity School, the Sevenoaks Christian Free School, is likely to be considerably oversubscribed for 2014 entrance. Also, its distance measurement to determine priority for the 60 places awarded on nearest distance is taken from the centre of the Knole East proposed school site to the child's home.
Kent County Council has agreed with the Trinity Free School and the Secretary of State for Education that the Free School should share the old Wildernesse School with the proposed new satellite grammar school from September 2015. This would be conditional on the Secretary of State actually giving approval for the satellite, although this is starting to look a given. At a public meeting last week, outline plans for the two schools were revealed.
|The site of the old Wildernesse School|
With all three parties supporting the proposal, this would avoid the potential costly legal battle that threatened if the two schools were in competition for the same site, as initially seemed likely. Whilst the Trinity School has consistently supported the idea of site sharing, KCC was initially opposed but now clearly recognises this is the sensible way forward.
I have written a number of previous articles which analyse issues such as the potential source of students and describe the story as it has unfolded. If you put Sevenoaks in my search engine, or pick up the tags at the bottom of this page you should find all of them.
One potential obstacle still exists to the plan, assuming the Secretary of State approves it. For the interpretation of the law that allows the setting up of a mixed satellite by a single sex grammar school remains open to legal challenge, and there are still interested parties who would be happy to see it fail, although their threat appears to be diminishing......
Now that Kent County Council appears confident the legal issues surrounding a satellite grammar school in Sevenoaks have been overcome, a second proposal has come forward for a satellite at Herne Bay in East Kent, although this idea has none of the problems that have beset Sevenoaks.
The plan has been initiated by Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, following discussions between himself, Barton Court Grammar School, Kent County Council and a property developer - Quinn Estates from Canterbury and replicates a similar scheme proposed a quarter of a century ago, whose failure to be implemented has left festering problems ever since. Children of grammar school ability in Herne Bay and Whitstable have had difficulties in securing selective places for many years, as the four nearest grammar schools: Queen Elizabeth’s in Faversham; and Simon Langton Boys, Simon Langton Girls and Barton Court all in Canterbury are all regularly oversubscribed. Indeed, this year QE was the most oversubscribed grammar school in Kent except for the “super-selectives” along the county boundary in the West of the county.
you may have heard a summary of my views, expressed in more detail below, on Radio Kent this morning (Friday). KentOnline, for the Kentish Gazette has written an updated article, providing the views of Kirsten Cardus, Headteacher of Barton Court, here. Sir Roger Gale's views are reported here, which appear very critical of the position of KCC.
Update 2 Friday evening
In a dramatic development of the Sevenoaks annexe/satellite proposal, Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge has proposed an alternative scheme to the one out for consultation by the Valley Invicta Academies Trust based in Maidstone.
In a letter to parents, Weald headteacher Mrs Johnson stated that........