A newly formed campaign group says that the planned Sevenoaks annexe to the Weald of Kent Grammar School is bound to fail.
Joanne Bartley, speaking for Kent Education Network, says: “The plan for the annexe envisages that the two sites – in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks – will be run as one school.
“Kent Education Network (KEN) believe that this will prove expensive and impractical and will not solve the perceived problem of girls needing to travel almost ten miles a day each way to school.
“Weald of Kent refuses to provide parents and residents with details of how the complicated logistics will work, despite a Freedom of Information request asking for this information. But it is our considered view that the hidden complications of the plan will result in teaching staff being forced to take over an hour travelling between the two sites most days if courses are to be duplicated on both sites.
“It is obvious that huge costs would be incurred in staff travel and that many more staff members would be required for the school to provide a full teaching programme. The only way to tackle this problem would be for the “school” to be divided horizontally ie. that senior pupils attend one location while juniors are based at the other.
“This would have two effects: such an arrangement could not be described as “one school”; and, further, at least half of the combined school cohorts would need to make the ten mile journey twice a day. This would contradict the intended point of the annexe plan – which is that these journeys should be ended. It would also mean that many children from the Tonbridge area would make these journeys for the first time.
“For all these reasons, we believe that the annexe will fail in its expressed aims.
“If Weald of Kent School were to reveal its plan, parents would then be able to take a view on the benefits or otherwise of the annexe. We believe that the future educational needs of Sevenoaks children can be more than adequately met by the Knole Academy with its grammar stream, together with the newly established Trinity Free School. ”