In an exciting development, Invicta Grammar, the school bidding to open a grammar annexe in Sevenoaks, has opened talks with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to establish a state-of the-art tennis academy as part of its proposed grammar school site in Sevenoaks.
If the plan goes ahead, the tennis academy will be based on the Wildernesse site adjacent to the new grammar school buildings. It will feature up to 10 indoor and outdoor courts, and will be open to the public after school, at weekends and during holidays.
And the plan has been backed by Andy Murray’s brother and the 2007 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles champion, Jamie Murray.
Jamie told the Sevenoaks Chronicle: “It’s great. A new facility like this would give local people a greater opportunity to learn or play tennis. There are not enough facilities for tennis in general; too few opportunities for people to play in their own towns and villages. I think it’s a problem throughout the country.
“We’ve been on about not having a men’s champion for 77 years. Andy has changed all that. There is a real appetite for tennis out there at the moment, and it would be a shame if we weren’t able to capitalise on that and help kids who want to learn the sport.”
LTA development officer, Harriet Izzard, said: “It’s very early days but we’ve expressed an interest in this fantastic project – tennis is so strong in Sevenoaks, we’d be daft not to. Currently there is more demand than there are facilities in Sevenoaks, so we’d love to be involved in supporting the centre. It’s a very exciting time for British tennis right now. We need to make the most of the current buzz to promote the sport.”
Invicta chief executive Dr Phil Limbert said: “For five to 15-year-olds it would be a tennis academy of excellence where we can nurture the Andy – or Andrea – Murrays of the future. For all Sevenoaks players, regardless of age, it would be a community facility – open to the public after school, at weekends and during holidays.”
Ed Walker from the Grammar School Steering Group said: “This state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor facility would provide a unique community-based opportunity for the enhanced performance coaching of youngsters in the Sevenoaks area for the years ahead.”
Andrew Shilling from the Sevenoaks Grammar School Campaign said: “This potential partnership between Invicta and the LTA is another fine example of the deep thought and imagination that has gone into Invicta’s Sevenoaks annexe plan. Our aim is for the grammar annexe to be more than just a school – we want it to be a valued cultural hub for the whole community.”
Ed Walker added: “Now that the public consultation period is drawing to a close, it is now time for every parent who wants to see a Grammar School in the town to back their preferred proposal.”
In this week’s Sevenoaks Chronicle, Dr Phil Limbert, set out why Invicta should open a grammar school annexe in Sevenoaks:
Valley Invicta Academies’ Trust is honoured to work in partnership with Kent County Council to right the injustice you the parents and young people of Sevenoaks have suffered for so long. Thanks to the efforts of the Sevenoaks Grammar School Campaign, a grammar school is now within sight. We look forward to help realise this project in 2015. So please vote in our public consultation process (by clicking on the link below):-
Over 1,500 young people can travel up to 3 hours each day to reach their school. This is wrong. If there was no high school in Sevenoaks that problem would have been corrected years ago.
The Valley Invicta Academies’ Trust has established the highest performing and most over-subscribed high school in Kent – Valley Park School and the most academically successful grammar school (not doubly selective) – Invicta Grammar School. We have a decade long proven track record, leadership expertise, drive and passion to now create Invicta at Sevenoaks, destined to be one of the leading schools in England. It will match the excellence of any school, maintained or independent and will unite the best aspects of tradition with the needs of contemporary scholars.
Be of no doubt, Invicta at Sevenoaks is essential both to remove the wasted travel time and to respond to the future shortfall of grammar places in West Kent. We have been consistent in our belief that these places are needed here in Sevenoaks.
Invicta at Sevenoaks is no threat to any other school. All grammar schools will need to grow.
Invicta at Sevenoaks will share a headteacher and a governing body but in all other aspects it will be the Sevenoaks grammar school. Teachers will not travel between sites. Students will not travel between sites. Students will study in a superbly designed school responding to the beauty of the Wilderness site.
Invicta at Sevenoaks will be at the heart of its community. It will model itself on the best independent schools, working with all primary and secondary schools in the town and surrounding villages. It will enjoy Invicta’s status as the only World School in England, partnering with schools around the globe. It will enjoy Invicta’s established partnerships with “Oxbridge” and with Yale and Harvard in the USA. It will place pastoral care at the heart of its educational philosophy.
Most importantly, it will develop its own unique culture; one rooted in the Sevenoaks community and we will soon announce a partnership with a national sporting association to bring an academy of sporting excellence to the town.
Invicta at Sevenoaks will commit to the belief that, to be outstanding is our expectation, to be world class is our determination.
Invicta at Sevenoaks will be Sevenoaks Grammar School.
BBC1 South East News reported live on Weald of Kent’s presentation to parents setting out their bid for a Sevenoaks annexe. The BBC reporter, Juliette Parkin, said:
“The turnout here this evening, some 40-50 people, fell far short of the 200-300 who turned up to hear Invicta’s bid a couple of weeks ago, which gives you some idea of the strength of support for both sides.”
Sevenoaks Chronicle published the articles below this week, and in their editorial said:
“Opening new grammar schools was supposed to be illegal – fortunately campaigners have steered – and sometimes forced – their bid to a point nearing reality…With the nation riding a wave of Murray mania, Sevenoaks certainly has a fighting chance of becoming the place future (tennis) stars are born.”