Kent

New bid for Sevenoaks grammar school annexe

Weald of Kent Grammar School
Image caption Weald of Kent Grammar School is making a second attempt to establish an annexe in Sevenoaks

A new attempt is being made to expand a grammar school in Kent a year after a similar proposal was turned down.

Weald of Kent girls' grammar school in Tonbridge wants to run an annexe in Sevenoaks.

Earlier bids to run mixed grammar school annexes on the same site were turned down by the Department for Education (DfE).

The county council said it believed the new bid to expand the girls' school complied with regulations.

The law forbids the opening of new grammar schools, but changes made by the coalition government in 2012 enable enlargement of existing schools.

'Robust proposal'

Kent County Council (KCC) has granted planning permission for the annexe on the old Wilderness School site in Seal Hollow Road, Sevenoaks if Education Secretary Nicky Morgan approves the scheme.

Sevenoaks is the only major Kent town which does not have a grammar school.

Bids made last year by Weald of Kent and Invicta Grammar were turned down because the DfE said neither complied with the law.

KCC leader Paul Carter said: "I am delighted that we now have a robust proposal to put to the Secretary of State.

"School rolls are rising dramatically and we must be allowed to expand grammar schools in line with all other categories and types of school.

"This is good news for parents with daughters and we will continue to work in earnest to find a solution for their sons."

'Ideally placed'

Weald of Kent has 1,200 pupils, about 500 of whom travel seven miles from Sevenoaks to Tonbridge.

Chairman of governors David Bower said the annexe would offer 90 more places for each year group.

"We believe Weald of Kent is ideally placed to establish an annexe," he said.

"We are confident we can embrace students and staff across a split site operation to feel part of a single community."

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