The Telegraph has reported that a legal challenge against the government’s approval of a “new” grammar school has been dropped by its campaign group, Comprehensive Future (“CF”). CF is a group that campaigns against the grammar school system on the basis that it encourages elitism in the education system.
The new school will be the first grammar school to be built and opened in 50 years, due to legislation that prohibits new grammar schools being opened. The plans for the new school were approved by the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, on the basis that it will be an “annex” of the existing Weald of Kent Grammar School in Kent.
The legal challenge against the approval for the new “annex”, was dropped by CF following a rejected data protection request to the Department of Education (“DoE”). CF requested DoE provide them with access to plans of how the school will operate, in the hope that it could use any flaws to support their legal challenge. Sceptics believe that the government has exploited a loophole in legislation in order to gain approval. They argue that the “annex” is going to be an entirely separate school because it is located 10 miles from the existing Weald of Kent Grammar School.
CF claimed that there had been an “absence of openness” from the Government; a spokesperson for CF said:
The plans that CF has been allowed to see appear to be highly impracticable and are unlikely to be sustained over the long term…but the Government has forbidden us to discuss these publicly
The DoE called the legal claim by CF “disingenuous” and maintained that the new school will function on a day-to-day basis as an annex to the school, creating an additional 90 places each year. Kent County Council has insisted that the plan for the new school will be compliant with regulations.
The announcement of the approval for the new school has prompted at least 8 other regions in the UK to admit that they are now preparing for similar expansion applications.
CF have confirmed that this is not the end to their campaign against the school, and have announced their plan to wait until the school has been further completed before challenging the government further.
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