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First ‘new’ grammar in decades opens its doors in Sevenoaks

PUBLISHED: 09:16 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:03 08 September 2017

Sevenoaks annexe

Sevenoaks annexe

Archant

The ‘annexe’ is managed by the Weald of Kent in Tonbridge - some 10 miles away

Sevenoaks annexe Sevenoaks annexe

Britain’s first “new” grammar school in decades opens its doors in Sevenoaks today.

The government banned the opening of new selective schools in 1998, however, the Weald of Kent in Tonbridge successfully lobbied for a grammar “annexe” to open in Sevenoaks - some 10 miles away - in 2015.

Parents argued that it was the only major town in Kent without a grammar school and many are still frustrated that the annexe is only open to girls, meaning there is still no such school for boys in Sevenoaks.

The Conservatives also pledged to expand the grammar system in their manifesto for the 2017 general election, however, the policy was dropped from the Queen’s Speech after the Tories failed to win a majority.

Sevenoaks annexe Sevenoaks annexe

Anti-grammar campaigners remain opposed to the opening, as Melissa Benn, chair of Comprehensive Future said: “The opening of this annexe shows that the threat of expanding selection still exists.

“Theresa May failed to get through her policy on new grammar schools, but now we need to watch out for selection spreading by stealth.

“The Kent annexe could be the first of many such backdoor schemes to expand selective education.

“The schools concerned will surely be hoping to escape the widespread criticism of selection that has emerged over the past year, even though they are, in effect, flouting the spirit of the law and public opinion.”

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