Plans to challenge the construction of a new grammar school in Kent have been dropped recently, and it seems increasingly probable that the Weald of Kent Grammar School’s Sevenoaks expansion will open as planned in September of 2017. While there is still a prohibition on creating completely new grammar schools, existing grammar schools like Weald of Kent are permitted to develop “annex” schools under the free schools Programme. If development goes through it will be the first new grammar school opened in 50 years.
While parents and local authorities are still dubious in some places as to the legality of the “annex” system, Weald of Kent’s example has prompted several other grammar schools across the country to consider a similar move. Wallington County Grammar school recently made a successful application to open a 1000-student mixed school in South Croydon in response to high demand for places, which may ease the pressure on selective school applicants in the local area.
If Weald of Kent and Wallington County Grammar are successful in their planned expansions, we may see an increase in grammar schools across the country. The original prohibition on the creation of new grammar schools remains in place for now, but with the success of the annex system it is entirely possible that the legislation may be altered to reflect political realities.