After five decades, England is going to get their first ‘new’ grammar school after the ministers permitted a grammar school to build an “annexe” in another town.
The Weald of Kent School located in Tonbridge, England will build and “annexe” new grammar school in Sevenoaks, after Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary gave them the go ahead. The school, which should not be considered a separate grammar school institution, but rather a part of the existing school, is supposed to welcome 450 students by 2017. This is the first new grammar school to be approved in the last five decades.
Since 1997, opening a new grammar school has been banned. The Education Minister explains just because the Kent grammar school will build an “annexe” in Sevenoaks does not mean that the ban has lifted, nor should it make other schools think they can get approved too. However, Kent was approved as it was a natural expansion decision.
There have been many proposals for grammar schools that have been rejected since the ban. Therefore, proposals for new grammar schools are not allowed by law and they will only be considered when they meet certain criteria. In other words, when there is a demand, then maybe they have a shot.
On the other hand, the Labour party thinks this decision is a backward step. They banned the thought of more grammar schools in the 90’s with the idea that academic selection should not persuade students’ educational opportunities.
In England, grammar schools are run by the state and they choose their students on a 11-plus examination. At the age of 11, they take the exam that will determine if the students qualify to attend; if they do not qualify they will attend a standard secondary school.
Protesters say grammar schools discriminate against children at a very young age, which puts a hurdle in front of children’s aspirations and social mobility.
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