Thursday, 29 November 2012

What is the likely impact of the proposed new Secondary Schools?

Survey data shows the Grammar Annexe is likely to prevent 99% of its students from travelling to schools outside Sevenoaks, whereas the Christian Free School is likely to reduce travelling time for 68% of its students.

When any new school is created the impact on surrounding schools is considered.    One of the major motivations behind the proposed Christian Free School and the Grammar Annexe is a desire to reduce the number of children travelling outside of the Sevenoaks area to secondary school.  How might we expect the two proposals to impact on this?

Responses to the Sevenoaks ACE Secondary School Survey in July indicate the faith schools and Knole Academy will feel the greatest impact of the Christian Free School, and the grammar schools will feel the impact of a Grammar Annexe in Sevenoaks.

The survey asked respondents to indicate school choice from the options that already exist, and then asked how this might change if both a Grammar Annexe and the Christian Free School were available.  623 respondents answered one or both of these questions in respect of 1,146 children in Year 6 or below.  Respondents were asked to respond in each of three scenarios, without an 11+ pass, with an 11+ pass and with top marks in the 11+.

The table below consolidates and summarises these responses.  Present school choice is shown in the left hand column, and the impact of the proposed new provision is shown across the top.  For example, of those who indicated that they would select a Faith School in Tunbridge Wells, 19.5% of children would still chose to attend a Faith School in Tunbridge Wells despite additional provision , 76.9% of children would select the Christian Free School and 3.6% would select Sevenoaks Grammar.

Data from Kent County Council (KCC) demonstrates that on average the number of children living in the Sevenoaks area[1] and attending Kent based secondary schools outside of the area is 331 per school year[2], with an additional 116 per year attending the Knole Academy. 

If the schools are successfully established the responses indicate the following potential changes in behaviour.

At this stage we are being reassured that both options are viable.  Should that situation change, and it becomes a case of one over the other, it is clear that the greatest impact to the lives of Sevenoaks children will be felt by the proposed Grammar Annexe.
[1] Sevenoaks area includes the planning districts of Dunton Green, Edenbridge, Halstead & Knockholt, Ide Hill, Sundridge & Brasted, Kemsing, Otford, Sevenoaks, & Westerham.
[2] Years 7 – 11- based on the January 2012 Schools Census

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