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In Kent we have #Sevenoaks. In California they have Thousand Oaks. #typical

Definitely didn’t know #Sevenoaks comes from Saxon word “Seouenaca”, the name given to a chapel near 7 oak trees in Knole Park



Going to say hello to #knole house #sevenoaks later today. Family lived there earlier this century (no.... they were servants!)



I am very excited to hear that discussions are taking place about potential new secondary schools in Sevenoaks – my only hope is that the urgency of this requirement does not result in a hasty decision without full consideration being given to the needs of the whole community. What we need is to come together as parents and ensure we understand all the options available and really think, objectively, about what type of secondary school will be right for Sevenoaks and its surrounding villages. There are so many questions to consider. Will the proposed faith school meet all the requirements that our increasing young population demands? What type of grammar school could be set up, so that local children are sure to benefit from the places on offer? How do we ensure that Knole Academy is supported by local families? What we need, right now, is a healthy debate involving all the interested parties – including the Free School team, Knole Academy, Kent County Council, MPs and local government. That’s why I’m supporting Sevenoaks ACE – a group of objective parents who are striving to achieve the best solution for our community – let’s make sure we get this right first time rather than leave an ongoing legacy of secondary education difficulties in Sevenoaks. A concerned Otford mum Sevenoaks ACE is a local community group working to ensure that there are sufficient secondary school places in the Sevenoaks area that meet the needs of the community. It is organising a series of consultative activities, open meetings and a survey to generate a community action plan to achieve this. For more information call 01732 743956 or visit www.

with Michael Fallon MP

Q. Will Sevenoaks get a grammar school? A. Kent County Council is considering opening a new grammar school in Sevenoaks. If the plans go ahead, this would be the first new grammar in the UK for 50 years. Kent is able to propose this following new school admission rules published by the Education Secretary Michael Gove. Kent has a grammar school system but Sevenoaks is the only one of its districts without one. Pupils in my constituency have to travel north to the Wilmington or Dartford Grammars, or south to Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. There is a huge cost in making over 1,000 pupils travel backward and forward each day, and a lot of lost time. And there’s a growing shortage of places. With at least 300 places going to children from outside the county, and an increasing birth rate, unless we take action now, Sevenoaks children face being allocated places as far away as

READERS’ PETS Sittingbourne, Maidstone, and Ashford. This isn’t an ideological issue. Kent has a duty to provide sufficient secondary school places, both at all-ability academies such as Knole Academy and at grammar schools. Parents have the right to choose. So far, over 1,500 parents have signed a petition calling for a new grammar in Sevenoaks: we should respect their views. We need to get on now with the practical work. Finding a suitable site, selecting a partner school in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, and earmarking the necessary funding. With the support of the council and local parents, I am optimistic that Sevenoaks may finally get the grammar school that we need. n Have a question for the MP? Please send to

OWNERS: Neal, Lesley, Ashley and Justin. LIKES AND DISLIKES: Likes: to chase squirrels around the garden. Dislikes: frogs and fireworks. FAVOURITE TREAT: He loves jelly beans.


A WORD FROM THE OWNER: Widget is the crazy one in the family. If you think you’ve got a print-worthy pet then email us at

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Vine Magazine | February 2012 | Issue 56