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Displaying items by tag: Sevenoaks

UPDATE (22nd October): It is becoming very apparent from Telephone Consultations and other enquiries, that Trinity School, the Sevenoaks Christian Free School, is likely to be considerably oversubscribed for 2014 entrance. Also, its distance measurement to determine priority for the 60 places awarded on nearest distance is taken from the centre of the Knole East proposed school site to the child's home. 

Kent County Council has agreed with the Trinity Free School and the Secretary of State for Education that the Free School should share the old Wildernesse School with the proposed new satellite grammar school from September 2015. This would be conditional on the Secretary of State actually giving approval for the satellite, although this is starting to look a given. At a public meeting last week, outline plans for the two schools were revealed.

wildernesse

            The site of the old Wildernesse School

With all three parties supporting the proposal, this would avoid the potential costly legal battle that threatened if the two schools were in competition for the same site, as initially seemed likely. Whilst the Trinity School has consistently supported the idea of site sharing, KCC was initially opposed but now clearly recognises this is the sensible way forward.

I have written a number of previous articles which analyse issues such as the potential source of students and describe the story as it has unfolded. If you put Sevenoaks in my search engine, or pick up the tags at the bottom of this page you should find all of them. 

One potential obstacle still exists to the plan, assuming the Secretary of State approves it. For the interpretation of the law that allows the setting up of a mixed satellite by a single sex grammar school remains open to legal challenge, and there are still interested parties who would be happy to see it fail, although their threat appears to be diminishing......

Published in News Archive
Monday, 01 July 2013 00:00

Sevenoaks Grammar School Satellite: Latest

 

Tuesday update to article below

 Radio Kent this morning carried a live double interview between Philip Limbert, Chief Executive of Valley Invicta Academies Trust, and David Bower, Chairman of Governors  of Weald of Kent Grammar School. Both made the case for their own institutions running the proposed satellite grammar school in Sevenoaks and agreed on a number of principles including an apparently comfortable acceptance of the fact that this has now become a competition. To quote Dr Limbert: “What is most important is that there is grammar school provision in Sevenoaks, not who runs it”. Roger Gough, the new KCC Cabinet Member for Education, and a Sevenoaks District Councillor, clarified the situation  for the Authority. Whilst KCC had worked with Invicta in the early stages of the project, they will now work with both bids and it would up to Michael Gove to make the final decision. The contribution from the Sevenoaks Grammar School campaign continued to denigrate the Weald bid suggesting their approach is now becoming increasingly divorced from the declared aim (below).

Footnote: In an unbroadcast portion of my own interview, I used the term “morphed” to describe the process of moving from four to six forms of entry for the proposed satellite. I should have trademarked it, as it has now become Radio Kent language to describe the change!  

Please note: the facts and issues outlined here are becoming immensely complicated. If I have made any errors of fact, please feel free to let me have the opportuntity to correct them. Opinions are my own!

I have never in over 40 years of working in education in Kent seen such an unpleasant battle as that which has now broken out over the proposed 6 form entry satellite grammar school on the Wildernesse site in Sevenoaks. As explained in a previous article, there are now two establishments vying to run the satellite if it actually comes about and that article provides considerable detail on the issues and background of what is a now four sided battle. The institutions  are the Valley Invicta Academies Trust (VIAT) from Maidstone - incorporating Invicta Grammar School,  and Weald of Kent Grammar School from Tonbridge. However, the site has already been provisionally promised by government to the Trinity Free School for September 2015, when The Knole Academy should vacate it to fully occupy its own new purpose built premises.

Published in News Archive

Update 2 Friday evening

In a dramatic development of the Sevenoaks annexe/satellite proposal, Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge has proposed an alternative scheme to the one out for consultation by the Valley Invicta Academies Trust based in Maidstone.

In a letter to parents, Weald headteacher Mrs Johnson stated that........

Published in News Archive
Saturday, 25 May 2013 08:08

What a difference three days makes

Took three days holiday this week in gap caused by half-term between preparing clients for appeals. Naturally there was a sudden outbreak of news including the following, some of which I will cover over the next couple of days:

1) Judd School announces it is considering setting up its own 11 plus tests for 2015 entry.

2) Judd school confirms no successful appeals this year.

3) Two new proposed Free Schools announced for opening in 2014 if approved. Jubilee Primary, in Maidstone, will be run by  Jubilee Church. Also the INSPIRE Special Free School will initially have 40 places and be based next to Silverbank Park in Churchill Avenue. Medway Council has worked in partnership with three schools in submitting the bid to the Department for Education: Willimaosn School Trust; Bradfields Special School; and Greenacre School. I don;t have any further details yet.

4) Kent County Council has begun its consultation on the proposed Sevenoaks Grammar School satellite

5) The usual assassins keep putting the boot into the Trinity Christian Free  School on the 11 plus website (not sure what it has to do with the 11 plus!) proposed for the same site

6) An OFSTED for Dame Janet Primary Academy in Ramsgate. formed out of Dame Janet Junior and Dame Janet Infants (failed OFSTED) receives shocking OFSTED  showing that  becoming an Academy is not the solution for everyone.

7) KCC to debate unacceptable delays in preparing Statements of Special Education Need. It is claimed that these are down to failures by the medical services to provide timely appropriate evdence. 

Published in Peter's Blog

invicta

UPDATE: Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for education at KCC has made a statement to the KCC Education Cabinet Meeting on 19th March. 

Kent County Council has unveiled its Sponsor School for the Sevenoaks Satellite Grammar School and the proposal resolves a variety of potentially troublesome issues, as well as making a great deal of sense all round.

The sponsor is the Valley Invicta Academies Trust which manages both Invicta Grammar School and Valley Park School in Maidstone. Both schools have Outstanding OFSTED Inspections, key features of Invicta's success in September 2012 including: "There is an unyielding pursuit of excellence by the headteacher, senior leaders, middle leaders and governors; Achievement is outstanding across all key stages and in all subjects with all groups of students; The overall quality of teaching is outstanding and inspires, enthuses and motivates students in their thirst for knowledge". Valley Park's OFSTED is older, but this is the third most oversubscribed school of any type in the county,  confirming its outstanding reputation, and possibly being the only non-selective school in Kent commanding a house price premium.

Thus we can be sure that the proposed satellite (preferred to annexe) grammar school will be outstandingly managed, an essential quality if it is to pick its way through the minefield ahead. In one leap it overcomes my own concerns about its organisation.......

Published in News Archive

wildernesse

The headmaster of the Trinity School, the new name for the proposed Christian Free School in Sevenoaks, has sent an email to parents who have applied to the school for their children, stating that government has awarded the site of the old Wildernesse School, currently occupied by part of the Knole Academy, to Trinity School as their long term permanent home for September 2015. This has been confirmed by a letter from the Department for Education to KCC although the latter is slightly hedged by "I am minded to excercise the Secretary of statee's powers", suggesting that there is still more time for persuasion. Trinity chool already has a temporary base until 2015 at Ryedale Court in Riverhead.

The email from the school states: "We will be on the Knole East site in Seal Hollow Road, popularly known as 'Wildernesse'.  This is an existing school site with excellent sports facilities, a lot of green space, and plenty of parking for cars and buses.  The existing buildings will either be replaced or refurbished so that they meet modern standards. As you probably know, Kent County Council announced in January their intention to use the Wildernesse site for the proposed Grammar satellite.  Kent told us that they did not believe that the site could be shared with our school so we looked for, and found, a number of good alternative options. In the event, however, the Department for Education has decided that Wildernesse is the best site for Trinity School out of all the available options.  The Department has therefore written to Kent County Council to express its intention to base our school at the Wildernesse site once it is vacated by Knole Academy.  The Academies Act 2010 gives the Secretary of State for Education the legal powers to ensure this outcome.  We continue to believe that the site is big enough for two schools and it may be that this will be the eventual result of these discussions.......

Published in News Archive
Tagged under

Kent County Council today announced that the proposed new Sevenoaks Grammar School Annexe now has a preferred site on the old Wildernesse School site in the town. Kent County Council reports that detailed proposals for the new grammar school provision will be submitted to government in the next few weeks. The site is owned by KCC, but the provision is not at present vacant, being  leased to the Knole Academy until 2015. Clearly Knole Academy is in no hurry to make the site vacant to a potential competitor school, and plans to "use its facilities more and more" whilst waiting for its own £18.3 million extension to be built. You will find much of the background this story here. Meanwhile,..........

Published in News Archive

Kent's three new secondary Free Schools, Hadlow Rural Community School, Sevenoaks Christian School and Wye Free School are all accepting applications for September 2013, and places will be offered independently from the KCC process for admission in 2013. This means that parents may apply to the Free Schools as well as completing the Kent Secondary admission form which allows up to four maintained schools to be named, with confidence that neither application will be harmed by the other. Schools will not be told if children have received a second offer elsewhere, so that such children will receive two offers on March 1st if they qualify for a place at one of the free schools.

I anticipate that this additional opportunity will encourage many double applications, so that the new schools may be swamped, and some of those offered places may well not be serious candidates. The down side of this is that of course 240 Kent children will be holding two offers in March 2013, when offers are made; and schools will have no idea which way those 240 children will go.........

Published in News Archive

I now have detailed information on Kent and Medway primary school admission offers for September 2012. On the surface, all looks well with a healthy 95% of children in Kent being offered one of their three choices, similar to last year. However, with rising rolls the number of children being allocated a school they hadn’t chosen has risen from 564 to 818 in two years, a worrying rise of 45%.

You will find more general information in a separate article below.  I have started to provide more detailed information on difficult areas, via the links below. 

Analysis of the figures shows a sharp contrast between most of West Kent and most of East Kent and between urban and rural areas. Maidstone town is the most difficult area, with over 100 children allocated to schools they did not apply for (you will find an earlier article on part of the problem here) and NO places free in any school in the town. Other problem areas include:........

Published in News Archive
I prepared an article this week for Kent on Sunday, reporting on pressure points in secondary school admissions, mainly in grammar schools in West Kent. The substance of this is contained in the items below on this page.
Published in News Archive
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