THE controversial new ‘annexe’ to the Weald of Kent grammar school opened its doors on Friday [September 8]. But there was no sign of the furore surrounding it abating.
Headmistress Maureen Johnson insists that the satellite site on Seal Hollow Road, ten miles from the original on Tonbridge’s Tudeley Lane, is the same school, just in a different place.
But campaigners continue to object that the annexe – the first grammar provision to be built in Britain for more than half a century – is actually a new school built using a loophole in the law. Pupils at Sevenoaks will attend the Tonbridge site for one day out of every fortnight.
Tony Blair’s government banned the building of any new -grammars in 1998.
Lucy Powell, Labour MP for -Manchester Central, will chair an early-day motion in Parliament this week that the annexe is a back-door route to new selective provision.
On behalf of the campaign group Comprehensive Future, she will describe it as ‘the first new selective state school to open in Britain for over 50 years’ and will call on the government ‘to rule out any further extension of selection by stealth’.