England Set to Open First ‘New’ Grammar School since the Ban

Weald of Kent School in Tonbridge is opening a new site in Sevenoaks, Kent, following a successful campaign by parents and supporters. The new site is being described as an annexe and will create spaces for 450 pupils from the area who would otherwise have a two-hour roundtrip to Tonbridge.

The decision to build this new site, which is set to open in September 2017, has raised concerns over whether this sidesteps the 1998 legislative ban on new grammar schools opening up. In 1965 the Education Department began telling local authorities to slowly start converting the 1,300 grammar schools into the comprehensive system, leaving 163 of these selective schools in England today.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has ensured that this new site is an extension of a good school, and that other grammar schools hoping to do the same would need to meet the criteria for a genuine expansion.

Do you think that this new opening qualifies as an ‘annexe’? Or is it a step backwards? Let us know your thoughts on social media!

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