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£200m fund raises hopes for new grammar school

By Paul Francis

A £200m fund to create new grammar school places could be used to open a new selective school in Deal, according to MP Charlie Elphicke.

The MP said he was “actively exploring” the possibility of a new annexe at the former Walmer Science School site, potentially sponsored by one of the selective schools in Dover.

The MP was responding to an announcement by the Chancellor that the government is to allocate £200m to meet the costs of expanding existing grammar schools.

The Walmer site could become home to up to 120 Year 7 pupils from September 2019 to September 2020
The Walmer site could become home to up to 120 Year 7 pupils from September 2019 to September 2020

The announcement comes in the middle of a government consultation over lifting a ban on opening new grammar schools.

Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear that she wants to end that ban and open the door to more selective schools.

Mr Elphicke said: “People in Dover and Deal tell me they greatly value the choice they have so this is very welcome.

“I would like to see whether we can have a new school, particularly in Deal on the old Walmer Science College site. It’d be fantastic to have a new free school or grammar school and that is something I am actively exploring. The Chancellor’s announcement is something that we should look at.”

MP Charlie Elphicke
MP Charlie Elphicke

The site is being used by the Goodwin Academy’s upper school and sixth form but that arrangement is due to end next September when a new super school will be completed at the Mill Road site.

The government has already sanctioned a satellite grammar for girls in Sevenoaks in west Kent, under legislation that permits over-subscribed schools to expand in areas where there has been population growth.

The government says that where new grammar schools are opened, they would expect them to accept more poorer brighter children and to help other schools improve.

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