However, no mention of the potential difficulty of a single sex grammar school running co-educational provision.
Mr Gove no longer has to balance government policy to promote Free Schools with party pressure to introduce new grammar school provision, as the current proposal, explained below, overcomes this objection, but from the length of time being taken to settle the issue there would appear to be legal issues which have to be unscrambled. Even if the outcome is positive, a 2015 opening appears to be coming less probable.
SUBSEQUENTLY: The Daily Mail printed an article about the correspondence I obtained and published 10 days previously, creating the story above. I was also interviewed on Radio Kent and BBC SE as a result of my article. Paul Carter, Leader of KCC asked in an interview on Radio Kent why, if creating a new grammar school was really illegal, government had not simply gone for a change in the law, given how many Conservative MPs were in favour of expansion of the grammar schools.
Dartford Grammar School
Dartford Grammar School is consulting on important changes to its oversubscription criteria, accompanied by a permanent increase in places to 150 for September 2015 entrance. The school currently has a fairly tight local priority area, all other places being awarded to high scorers, drawn mainly from South East London. For 2013 entry, I calculate there were 102 Kent boys offered places, the great majority of these being from the priority zone. The remaining 48 all came from London Boroughs. This forced the cut off score in the Kent Test this year for these high scorers up to 418 on 1st March allocation, the highest for any school in the county.
The new proposal appears to favour Kent boys with the priority area being increased to include: Greenhithe; Longfield; New Barn & Southfleet. Greenhithe has long been a problem area with boys often missing out at all of Dartford, Gravesend and Wilmington Grammar Schools, and so this is a welcome move. Longfield, New Barn and Southfleet boys used to choose between the three schools but in recent years, have not been able to access Dartford, except by high scores. However, this good news is tempered by a proposal to restrict access by this criterion to the 90 boys living closest to the school, and so I would guess that some in the new areas will still miss out, as the number of Kent offers will remain similar to previous years! Meanwhile some 30 additional places would be awarded to high scoring boys, mainly from SE London with a few from more distant parts of Kent.
These 30 places will add to some 200 additional places provided by other Kent grammar schools over the past three years, underlining the legality of grammar school expansions in the county. It is debatable where these additional children have come from, but the large majroity are surely amongst the most able children previously destined for non-selective schools, who now see the pressure on them to achieve target examination grades even tougher.