Kent school bids to be first new grammar


A non-selective school in Kent is believed to be the first to outline plans to become a grammar school after Theresa May outlined education changes.

Meopham School, run by Swale Academies Trust, has set out plans to consult parents on converting to a mixed-sex grammar by 2018.

The Prime Minister announced plans to lift the ban on new selective schools,including grammars, on 9 September.

The trust has stressed the consultation plans are in their earliest stages.

Mrs May’s plans for more grammar schools in England have been given a lukewarm welcome by the former Chancellor, George Osborne.

Education reforms whilst he was in government focused on the comprehensive system, in particular creating new academies and free schools.

“I am not against new grammar schools where areas want them but I think the real focus of education reform remains the academy programme, transforming the comprehensive schools that most people send their children to,” Mr Osborne said.

Swale Academies Trust principal Jon Whitcombe said there was a “profound” debate to be had about selective schooling.

“What we are doing as a school is kick-starting that,” he said.

Kent already has selection at 11, but in a letter to parents the trust said it believed there was a need for additional grammar school places in the area.

“Swale Academies Trust recognises that this is a potentially contentious issue,” added Mr Whitcombe.

“We believe many parents would welcome the opportunity to have a local mixed grammar school provision as an alternative to the current single sex grammar schools,” he said.

Pupils already at the school would not be affected, but those wishing to join from 2018 would need to take the Meopham Selection Test.

Construction of a grammar annexe for Weald of Kent school in Sevenoaks is already under way under a previous loophole which allowed grammar school expansion.

[Source:- BBC]