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Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon reacts to claims Weald of Kent Grammar satellite extension is 'illegal'

A grammar school's satellite site is under fresh scrutiny after changing its curriculum.

Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge was given permission to open a £11million satellite site in Sevenoaks in 2015.

Kent grammar school under fire after fresh claims it's acting illegally

It is illegal to open a new grammar school, however then education secretary, Nicky Morgan, said the selective girls grammar's two sites would function as one school, offering a "cross-site" curriculum.

Building work began on the annexe in the grounds of Trinity School, Seal Hollow Road, in 2016 and the extension accepted its first 120 pupils in 2017.

However, from this month pupils at each site will be taught separately, visiting their alternative site for extra curriculum activities only.

Dr Nuala Burgess, Comprehensive Future’s chairwoman, said: "I am very angry. It is clear the Sevenoaks ‘annexe’ is being run as a completely separate grammar school, which is illegal.

"We predicted this would happen – it was clear from the beginning that it would prove wholly impractical to run a school on two sites in the way they proposed. Weald of Kent grammar school spent a lot of time producing detailed plans to suggest it was feasible to run as one school."

Weald of Kent's Sevenoaks annexe shares a site with Trinity School in Seal Hollow Road
Weald of Kent's Sevenoaks annexe shares a site with Trinity School in Seal Hollow Road

The Department for Education said it found the school's extra site still operated "within the criteria for expansion".

Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon has been supportive of the extension of the girls' grammar school since it was proposed.

He said: "Weald of Kent Grammar School is well-established now and very popular with local parents. I expect any challenges to be firmly resisted."

Weald of Kent's headteacher Elizabeth Bone said:

"We used to ask students to travel once a fortnight to the Tonbridge campus to ensure equal access to a full curriculum.

"As we enter the third year of the annex being open, we are now able to deliver specialist teaching at both our campus sites.

"From this year we will be operating all of our extra-curricular days across both sites, meaning that every student will have the opportunity to experience learning across both of their school campuses."

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