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Kent County Council to vote on grammar school expansion

There is a meeting of Kent County Council this evening where the following recommendation will be voted on:

The recommendation is that in response to an ePetition, Kent County Council pursues proposals to provide 2FE of selective secondary provision for boys, 2FE of selective secondary provision for girls and 2FE of mixed non-selective provision for students resident in the Sevenoaks south area, that would meet legal requirements.

Technically this would not mean a new grammar school opening but an existing one expanding to a new site. However the historic nature of the decision is appreciated:

Expansion of selective education on a new satellite site has not happened since the 1960s, although Torquay Boys' Grammar School (a selective Academy) in Devon initiated talks in 2011 to create a satellite school seven miles away. The outcome of these talks is not yet known.

The pragmatic case is strong, however. If you are going to allow grammar schools at all, is it really reasonable for 1,100 pupils who pass the 11-plus in Sevenoaks to have to travel 15 miles to school in Tunbridge Wells? If nothing is done then the pressure will only get more intense as the population grows. There are also Sevenoaks children who pass the 11-plus but don't get offered a grammar schol place at all.

Robert McCartney, Chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association, says many grammar schools would like to expand.


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