An astonishing display of people power by thousands of local parents secured the support of Kent County Council (“KCC”) to establish new grammar school places in Sevenoaks.
Despite over 2,600 local people supporting the bid for a Sevenoaks grammar school, the people of Sevenoaks reacted with disbelief when they first heard the news that KCC had backed their bid. Sevenoaks parents had been campaigning for a grammar school for so long that many thought that this day would never come. However, initial disbelief quickly turned to jubilation, and the Sevenoaks Grammar School Campaigners were then overwhelmed by well-wishers and expressions of support, as these stories from the Sevenoaks Chronicle shows:
KCC is now pressing ahead with the grammar school plan by working up a full proposal, including details of partner schools, potential sites and funding options, and by working through the various statutory and legal processes, with the aim of implementing the plan as soon as possible.
Following KCC’s historic decision on 29th March, KCC Education Chief, Mike Whiting, commented as follows:
The debate marked a momentous moment in the county’s history, which will change the face of education provision in the future. I’d like to thank the organisers of the petition and everyone who signed it. It highlighted the power of people pulling together, united in one cause that they truly believe in.
The creation of a grammar school annexe is a step in the right direction in helping to solve the problem of children travelling up to 25 miles to get to school. The council will press ahead and work up a full proposal to make this happen for the parents in Sevenoaks as soon as possible.
Paul Carter, KCC Leader, explained what would happen now:
For decades, young people and parents in Sevenoaks have been marginalised by not having grammar provision in the town. It’s time we made a significant investment in the proportionate expansion of selective schools in West Kent. The existing grammar schools in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge are working at their physical capacity. Let’s get on with finding the right site to build the grammar school in Sevenoaks.