Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has announced that a mixed sex sixth form grammar school annexe will open in Sevenoaks in 2018, one year after after the Sevenoaks grammar annexe opens its doors to year seven girls.
This is exciting news, and heralds a profound change to the educational landscape in our town, because, for the first time, grammar school places will be provided to boys in Sevenoaks, and almost as importantly a sixth form at a Sevenoaks state school will for the first time be teaching a full range of academic subjects.
And already many Sevenoaks boys who are currently suffering long journeys to attend grammar schools in Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells have expressed a strong wish to leave their current schools at the end of year 11, and then to join the new Sevenoaks grammar sixth form when it opens in two years.
The crucial announcement was made by Nicky Morgan in The House of Commons on 19th October 2015:-
“The expanded (Weald of Kent) school will be girls only on both sites (in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks) from 2017, with a co-ed sixth form also on both sites from September 2018. It therefore fully reflects the existing school. It will share leadership, governance, administration arrangements and admissions policies across the school. The school intends to bring all year sevens together for at least half a day a week, and that will extend to all five-year groups as the extended site fills up.
“There will be a range of cross-site curricular activities, including in personal, social, health and economic education, languages and music, reflecting the integrated split-site school. In addition, the school will continue to operate a house system that will apply to students regardless of their site location, and this will further secure regular, cross-site learning. New staff contracts will make it clear that staff are expected to work on both sites.
“All policies and procedures, including uniform, behaviour and safeguarding, will apply across the newly expanded school. Furthermore, the expansion will meet the needs of the community within the school’s existing catchment area, with 41.6% of current pupils travelling from the Sevenoaks area, as my right honourable friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Michael Fallon) has tirelessly reminded me.”
The opening of the grammar sixth form in Sevenoaks cannot now be the subject of a legal challenge because the three month deadline for launching a judicial review has passed.