An announcement from Kent County Council (“KCC”) on the new Sevenoaks grammar school is imminent. KCC Leader, Paul Carter, presaged the announcement during an interview on BBC Radio Kent on 5th December when he said:-
“We are very close to making an announcement. We have willing and able partners who would like to run a grammar school in Sevenoaks as an adjunct to their existing grammar schools. We will be putting money into the capital programme to facilitate this, and we will be announcing our site of choice shortly.”
With its expected opening date of September 2015, the new grammar school will benefit Sevenoaks primary school pupils currently in Years 3 and 4, as these children will no longer suffer the daily two-hour commute to grammar schools in other towns.
The Sevenoaks grammar school will also be a community school that operates a fair, “tutor-proof”, and non-super selective, admissions policy that will admit children who pass the 11-plus exam (and not just the highest scorers) from Sevenoaks and the surrounding villages.
Unfair admissions policies and a shortage of grammar school places are particular problems in Sevenoaks. This is because the very high marks scored by children from West Kent, East Sussex and London in this year’s Kent 11-plus exams will very likely mean that many Sevenoaks boys who passed the 11-plus will be denied grammar school places in 2013.
The underlying reason is that there are currently too few grammar school places available to boys in West Kent. This problem will only be resolved when the Sevenoaks grammar school opens in September 2015, when the KCC-owned Wildernesse site is vacated by its current occupant, The Knole Academy.
The Sevenoaks parents are now crossing their fingers in the hope of hearing the best Christmas news for the town’s children in many years.