Western Morning News. As published: 21 January 2014
Rather than the creation of a new school, satellite schools are designed to allow existing schools to ‘expand’ on to a new site. Two bids by existing Kent grammar Schools to open a satellite school in Sevenoaks were recently rejected by the Secretary of State. The bids were rejected on the basis that they would have created new schools.
New grammar schools have been outlawed for decades and whilst England’s 164 existing state grammar schools, including 20 in the South West region can grow to meet additional demand for more places, this must be a genuine expansion.
The frustration over the recent Grammar school bids is that they were both seeking to resolve an issue of demand. We must question whether it is fair that the current legal system prohibits the creation of new grammar schools when we are living in an era where free schools are being set up all over the country to meet demand for particular types of schools?
If a group were to apply for a grammar free school, they would have no trouble satisfying the demand section of their application which involves proving that there is a shortage of particular school places in their area. Should the two bidders go back to the drawing board and satisfy the ‘expansion’ vs ‘new school’ criteria or should the Government be fighting to change the legal system and allow any new school to be created if it means reducing the demand crisis?
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