Kent has approved the country's first new grammar school in half a century. Councillors say it's a satellite of an existing school, but not a stand-alone new school. Our reporter John Ryall spoke to Sarah Shilling who has been campaigning for a new grammar school and former Kent MP Steve Ladyman.
Kent County Council has voted in favour of creating a 120 pupil Grammar School campus at Sevenoaks, the first new grammar school in Britain for fifty years.
– A Department for Education spokesman
The over-riding objective of this Government's reforms is to increase the supply of good school places so parents have real choice.
That includes making it easier for good schools - grammar or otherwise - to increase their admission number.
Legislation prohibits the establishment of new grammar schools, and ministers have been clear that that will not change.
Any school can already expand by opening a satellite site. This has been the case since 1944.
It is for Kent County Council to decide how it fulfils its legal duty to provide sufficient school places in Kent.
– Sevenoaks Grammar School campaigner Sarah Shilling
Sevenoaks is the only major town within the existing Kent grammar school system that is without a grammar school.
Sevenoaks children who pass the 11-plus test are increasingly denied places at Kent grammar schools because they live outside the shrinking catchment areas.
Some Sevenoaks children who scored as high as 99% of the full mark on this year's 11-plus test were not offered a grammar school place.
Extra grammar school places are desperately needed in Sevenoaks to cater for our children.
We are optimistic that Kent County Council will support our case today.