On 20th June, Invicta Grammar School and Kent County Council (“KCC”) presented their joint plan for a grammar school annex in Sevenoaks. Over 200 Sevenoaks parents attended the meeting at Amherst School.
The meeting was a resounding success and all are excited about the prospect of an excellent new school in the town in just over two years.
For those of you who were unable to attend the meeting, our iPad typed notes of the Invicta/KCC presentation (taken by our resident journalist from a leading national news organisation) are below.
Dr Philip Limbert – VIAT Chief Executive;
Julie Derrick – Invicta Headteacher;
Roger Gough – KCC Cabinet Member For Education;
Kevin Shovelton – KCC Director of Education Planning and Access.
Dr Philip Limbert:
“Every day over 1,500 grammar school pupils from Sevenoaks – enough to fill a new school – leave the district to attend classes elsewhere in Kent. This demand is not going to decrease – it will increase as new homes are built in Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.”
Invicta and KCC consider there is need for extra grammar school places in Sevenoaks as 1,500 pupils travel out of area to grammar school every day, more than a whole school’s worth.
Per KCC’s housing and population projections, this demand is just going to increase. It’s not merely a current bulge in figures, but an ongoing pressure on places.
Last year, and year before, developers had earmarked sites for housing, but little activity. Just sitting on sites. But that’s changing and housing developments starting to take off.
Plus increasing out of London migration.
Also, local Sevenoaks and county-wide primary schools expanding at present – and some doubling.
KCC think thousands of extra secondary places need to be planned in Kent up to 2020.
Under the current law, an entirely new grammar school cannot be built, but an annexe of an existing school can.
It will require the approval of Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.
Plan is to open the school for a Year 7 intake in September 2015.
The public consultation is currently open.
The KCC-owned Wildernesse site is proposed for “Invicta at Sevenoaks”.
Detailed plans are under way for a 3-storey school building to be built in its entirety at the outset, to be the most cost effective way of developing the site, and to avoid teaching in a building site.
Architect’s pictures presented on screen – stunning space and design.
70 week build phase.
KCC will seek planning permission after the consultation closes in July.
The plans are at an equivalent stage for other school building projects that KCC plans to open at the same time.
Building and start-up costs to be provided by KCC.
KCC committed to providing sufficient funding. Manifesto commitment of current KCC administration.
Annual revenue same as for any other school.
Details of the school are on its website, here:
It’s a girls’ grammar school in Maidstone, but it works with a next door co-ed academy, Valley Park School
Both schools are now rated outstanding by Ofsted.
It’s the top grammar school that doesn’t “super-select” pupils in Kent.
86% of pupils study for Maths A level, in a girls’ school (!)
Exam results are 7th and 10th in the country for GCSEs and A levels.
Invicta At Sevenoaks
Invicta at Sevenoaks would be co-educational for 11-18 year olds.
The head teacher and governors would be the same across both schools, but there would be a specific Head of School at Sevenoaks.
All teachers will be wholly Sevenoaks based, and lessons will be in Sevenoaks.
No travel between the two sites. Distance is not an issue.
Shared ethos, leadership, back office systems, budget and IT systems.
Admissions policy will be to admit the 180 applicants who pass the 11 plus who live nearest to Sevenoaks annex.
Governors would also come from Sevenoaks area.
Opening hours may be 7am-7pm. Six hour teaching day.
Separate science teaching in years 7 and 8.
In September 2015, the plan is to open Year 7, and the current consultation is on a 4-6 form entry for each year group.
Each year will see another year group join the school, and so will grow the school over the full seven years.
What Happens Next?
Invicta’s consultation ends 19th July.
KCC actively supporting Invicta bid, and not competing bids.
KCC has been working with Invicta since last year – bid is the fruit of a lot of work, and quite far down the track.
KCC not informed of competing bid in advance.
Joint document proposal from KCC and Invicta will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove shortly after 19th July. Decision expected before Christmas.
Dr Philip Limbert:
“The injustice of no grammar school in Sevenoaks has gone on for far too long. We aim to end this injustice. We are honoured to have this opportunity to work with Sevenoaks parents”