Proposals for Weald of Kent Annexe

James Coombs made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Education,

Please could you provide copies of the information, in electronic format, referred to in the Information Commissioner's decision notice reference FS50613829 so myself and others may access this information. That request is to provide:
1. The proposal that was submitted by the Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge, Kent, for the proposal for an annexe that has been recently approved.
2. The proposal that was submitted by the Weald of Kent Grammar School, in Tonbridge, Kent, in 2013 for the proposal for a mixed sex annexe.

The Information Commissioner's full decision notice can be found here:

Yours faithfully,

James Coombs

Dear Department for Education,

Please provide a response to my request for information. By law this should have been provided promptly and in no case more than 20 working days from the date I submitted the request so this is now overdue.

Yours faithfully,

James Coombs

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

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Dear Mr Coombs 


Thank you for your request for information, which was received on


I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the Act”).

If you have any queries about the attached letter, please contact me.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future

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Dear DfE,

Thanks for providing the 2013 proposal although you forgot to attach the proposal which was finally approved. I've since seen a proposal from November 2014 for a single sex 'annexe'. The consultation for this was confined to WoK parents and staff so wasn't in any sense public not to mention the fact that the response to a single sex annexe was very lukewarm.

It's clear from the Nov 14 proposal that the proposal for a single sex annexe was approved on the basis of consultation for something other than that which the proposal was proposing which was what I was trying to establish and I can fully appreciate why the DfE would want that to not become public knowledge.

Yours sincerely,

James Coombs

academy questions, Department for Education

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Coombs,

Request for information regarding the Weald of Kent Grammar School


I am writing to apologise for not having attached the 2015 Weald of Kent
Grammar School proposal as requested and as we had meant to.

I have attached the proposal which was finally approved as well as a note
from the Headteacher which provides further information received from the
school following our receipt of the 2015 proposal.

Yours sincerely,

Seun Onabolu


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Joanne Bartley left an annotation ()

I just wanted to add an annotation with some background to this document.

On page 25 of the document, regarding the 2013 (boys & girls annexe) consultation, it says 'Interestingly, the existing Weald of Kent community (Parents/Guardians and Pupils) who make up 21% of the returns wholeheartedly support the extension of the school.'

This appears to be true, but the context to this consultation should be understood to realise that this might not be the case. The Weald of Kent consultation ran at the same time as the consultation for the Invicta grammar school. The two schools offered rival bids for an annexe.

There were 2 questions in the Weald of Kent's consultation.

3. Do you agree with Kent County Council's assessment that
there is a need to commission selective education provision
in Sevenoaks via an Annexe to an existing Grammar School?

4. Do you support the Weald of Kent Grammar School Trust proposal to open an Annexe in Sevenoaks?

The answers to question 3 were presented in this document while the answers to question 4 were not used. Indeed the results regarding support for this school's expansion have been lost and now destroyed by the school. (See ICO decision notice of December 8th. Reference FS50630482.)

The official Sevenoaks grammar school campaign supported the Invicta school bid and they told supporters to put 'yes' for question 3 and 'no' for question 4.

So it is likely that the Weald of Kent parents who put 'yes' in response to this consultation were mostly supporting the Invicta school bid, and like everyone else saying 'yes' to the principle of an annexe. If they did put 'yes' in reply here (to support Invicta) and 'no' to their own school expanding with an annexe we will never know...

If there was support from parents at the school to expand, then we might expect the school to use the consultation results that related directly to their own school. But they did not do so, and these results have never been reported & got lost.

The 2014 consultation (single sex annexe) showed only lukewarm support by Weald of Kent parents. The document does not give numbers or dates for this consultation. However the consultation ran for 2 weeks September 8th – 22nd and the results were as follows:

1. Do you support the view that Weald of Kent Grammar School Trust should offer more local provision?
Staff: 22 yes 1 no.
Parents: 64 yes 42 no.

2. Do you agree that Weald of Kent in its present structure should offer additional Grammar places in Sevenoaks?
Staff: 21 yes, 1 no.
Parents: 54 yes, 51 no.

3. Do you support the Weald of Kent Grammar School Trust proposal to open an Annexe in Sevenoaks?
Staff: 21 yes, 1 no.
Parents: 59 yes, 46 no.

So there was a majority of support for the annexe, but it was not presented very clearly by the school in their proposal here. The consultation appears not to have been promoted very much as the response rate was so low.

Perhaps the DfE would not have given the green light if they'd known the annexe in the form that went ahead, as a girls only expansion, by the Weald of Kent, was only supported by 59 parents?

This proposal makes no mention of the fact that the 2013 consultation would get a great deal of support from parents of boys, who need to travel very much further to find a grammar school. There was no widespread local consultation on a girls only annexe, and if there was there would be very much less enthusiasm for the plan.