About the ‘satellite’ school plan

The government announced a £200 million Selective School Expansion Fund, despite a huge outcry from teachers and academics who believe that grammar schools do not achieve better results, and reduce choice for most parents.

New grammar schools are illegal. The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 bans the creation of new selective schools, whilst the Academies Act 2010 allows only the creation of new schools which, “provide education for pupils of different abilities.”

The Weald of Kent grammar school controversially avoided the law by claiming a school nine miles away was an ‘annexe’ and part of the same site, and this is what this new coastal grammar school plans to do too. The school had to use both sites to try to prove pupils were part of one school – and a coastal ‘satellite’ will need to do the same.

The QE and Barton Court consultation documents are not honest about the way the ‘satellite’ school will be used. They suggest that the coastal site will simply share a uniform and ethos! Yet this response from QE reveals the real complications of running a ‘satellite’ selective school. Pupils will need to travel to use both school sites – even though they are ten miles away from each other.

Thank you for your email regarding movement between the two sites. We have produced a detailed plan which looks at every aspect of operating a satellite, from Leadership, to staffing, pupil experiences and the administration and organisation of this single, large school.

At first we expect the students in each year group at the Satellite campus to travel to Faversham to work alongside the rest of their year group on the existing site for one day a week. We plan to create integrated curriculum experiences and teaching, alongside a range of extra curricular opportunities, which all students can access. We also feel that it would be desirable for students from the current school to travel to the satellite on occasion, possibly in addition to the days described above. 

We will run a combined curriculum offer, including a coordinated Sixth Form, with some smaller uptake subjects only being taught on one site, meaning that students will move between sites on a daily basis, depending on their option choices. 

So pupils using the Whitstable/Herne bay site will be educated in Faversham or Canterbury one day a week.

Pupils in the original school site will also have to travel to the coast to use the facilities.

The school sixth form will also be located in two towns, meaning some pupils will travel daily between Faversham and Herne Bay. All of this is necessary to try to get around the law, but isn’t it pointless and annoying?

A non-selective school on the coast works for everyone, and avoids all these unnecessary complications.