Fun For All At Buzy Bees Soft Play Area

Michael with Vicky and Somerset, Manager and Deputy Manager at Buzy Bees.
Michael with Vicky and Somerset, Manager and Deputy Manager at Buzy Bees.

Michael visited Buzy Bees Soft Play Area in Ash on Friday to celebrate its first birthday under new management.

Buzy Bees offers children a fantastic soft play environment and Michael was delighted to see so many children enjoying the facilities.

As well as the soft play area, Buzy Bees offers an after school club and a holiday club for parents needing extra childcare.

Michael said: “It was wonderful to see the children enjoying the soft play area and to see their parents and guardians taking advantage of the on-site café.  This thriving local business is offering an invaluable childcare service to the local community.  I would like to wish Buzy Bees the very best of luck for the coming year.”

To find out more about these facilities, please click here.

Michael Hails ‘Success Story’ of New Pre-School Site

Michael with Cllr Andrew Eyre, Mayor of Sevenoaks, at the opening.
Michael with Cllr Andrew Eyre, Mayor of Sevenoaks, at the opening.

Michael today hailed a local ‘success story’ as he joined local parents and children to open the Children’s Workshop’s new building in Sevenoaks.

The pre-school was formerly located at Sevenoaks Rugby Club but decided to move to new and improved premises last year.  Michael assisted the school as it sought to secure planning permission for its new timber-clad building on the edge of Lady Boswell’s School.  Permission was granted in October 2015 after special consideration was granted.

Michael spoke about the importance of pre-school education for working families in Sevenoaks before the building was formally opened by Mr Bloom from CBeebies with the firing of a confetti cannon.

Michael said: “I have been proud to support the Children’s Workshop’s move and I was delighted to attend today.  The new building is a success story, demonstrating what can be achieved when local communities come together.  It will provide a vital service that benefits both parents and children for many years to come.”

Michael Welcomes Grammar School Plans

Michael has welcomed the Government’s plan to allow the opening of new grammar schools.

Michael said: “I warmly welcome these new proposals.  By making it easier to expand existing grammar schools and set up new ones, they will widen choice for parents and pupils in Sevenoaks.

We have already secured a girls’ grammar annexe.  A boys’ grammar is the next essential step, and these plans mean we can avoid the lengthy legal wrangling that held up the girls’ annexe.”

SupaJam Welcomes Michael

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Michael with co-founders David Court and Nick Stillwell (Credit: Jake Tanner).

Michael was welcomed to SupaJam in Swanley on Friday.

Founded by David Court and Nick Stillwell, SupaJam supports young people aged 16-19 from across the district of Sevenoaks who have fallen out of formal education.  Currently supporting over 40 young people, the scheme will expand to support 90 in September.

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Michael meeting students at SupaJam (Credit: Jake Tanner).

Students work towards the accredited Music Business Diploma, supported by education in life skills and formal English and Maths qualifications.  Seven out of every 10 young people who attend SupaJam move into further education, employment or training when they leave.

Michael spoke to students and tutors and observed lessons and activities.  He was also given the opportunity to try his hand at the music technology used by the students.

Michael said: “SupaJam is doing great things in Swanley.  Its remarkable record is turning lives around and helping young people to meet their potential.  I look forward to working with David and Nick as they expand their ambition even further.”

On this day in his constituency, Michael also met representatives from the Electrical Contractors’ Association and local councillors.

New Ash Green Primary School Kitchen

Michael Fallon opened New Ash Green Primary School kitchen
Michael enjoying food produced at New Ash Green Primary School’s new kitchen

On Friday, Michael was pleased to open a new kitchen at New Ash Green Primary School.

Michael met the school council and spoke to pupils in a school assembly, answering questions on a variety of local and national topics.

The school’s new kitchen was funded by £180,000 from the Government as part of the universal infant free schools meals programme.  Work took place during the summer holidays and the kitchen is now in use.  The meals have been well received by parents and pupils.

Michael also visited Horizon Primary Academy in Swanley, where he met pupils participating in their new Scouting initiative, and Hextable Primary School in Swanley, where he reviewed the school’s progress and recent expansion.

Michael Fallon with Hextable Primary School school council
Michael with the school council at Hextable Primary School

Michael said: “It was great to visit three excellent local schools.  I very much enjoyed opening New Ash Green Primary School’s new kitchen; healthy school meals help pupils to achieve their best and I am pleased that Government funding made the difference.  Horizon Primary Academy is to be congratulated on its scouting initiative and I will work to ensure that Hextable Primary School’s recent expansion is properly funded.”

For more information, please visit New Ash Green Primary School’s website.

New Grammar School Provision for Sevenoaks

Press release from Kent County Council:

Work is ready to start in the next few months in Sevenoaks to build a new grammar school annexe, the first for 20 years.

weald of kentThe Weald of Kent Grammar School Academy Trust has now submitted its proposal, in line with the requirement identified by Kent County Council to develop the new annexe to the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan.

Planning consent has already been obtained to build the school on the old Wildernesse School site in Seal Hollow Road and contractors are ready to start work, subject to the Secretary of State’s sign-off.

Kent County Council understands that the submission by the all-girls Weald of Kent is compliant with the regulations set up by the coalition government to establish a new grammar school annexe for girls.

Leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter said: “I am delighted that we now have a robust proposal to put to the Secretary of State for her sign-off.  School rolls are rising dramatically and we must be allowed to expand grammar schools in line with all other categories and types of school.  This is good news for parents with daughters and we will continue to work in earnest to find a solution for their sons.

“I am also delighted by the support from Theresa May and Michael Fallon for the establishment of further grammar school provision in their constituencies.”

Mr Fallon said: “I am delighted to support this proposal from the Weald of Kent Grammar School for a satellite annexe in Sevenoaks.

“It remains deeply unfair to parents in my constituency that we are the only area in Kent not to have a grammar school. This proposal will not only go some way to eliminating this injustice, but also produce the additional places we need in west Kent.

“I hope the Secretary of State makes a speedy decision.”

David Bower, Chair of Governors at Weald of Kent Grammar School said:  “As the existing provider of education to 500 pupils from Sevenoaks we believe Weald of Kent is ideally placed to establish an annexe, offering an additional 90 places per year group.

news-secondary-admissions-2015“Recognised by Ofsted as ‘Outstanding’ we are confident in our ability to deliver the highest quality of education possible for the children in Sevenoaks and that we can extend our unique ethos to embrace students and staff across a split site operation to feel part of a single community.”

Trinity School, Sevenoaks

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Meeting pupils from Trinity School, Sevenoaks

On Friday 31st January, Michael visited the new non-selective Christian Trinity School where he met pupils and answered questions about his role as MP for Sevenoaks and as Minister of State for Business and Energy.

Speaking about his visit, Mr Fallon noted:  ‘It was a great pleasure to tour the school at its initial site in Riverhead and meet the pupils.  They asked me some very challenging questions!  I was very impressed at what Matthew Tate and his team have achieved already and look forward to seeing the school grow and develop in the coming years.  I am delighted that the Government’s Free Schools policy is bringing added choice to the educational landscape in Sevenoaks. ’

Matthew Tate, Headmaster, commented:  ‘The students really enjoyed meeting Mr Fallon.  We were very glad to be able to thank him in person for the role he played in helping us to be selected as one of the Free Schools to be funded by the Government.’

Sevenoaks Grammar School Campaign

The Department for Education has turned down the most recent bid for a new grammar school in Sevenoaks.

Commenting on this decision Michael said:

“This decision is bitterly disappointing and does nothing to address the pressing need for more grammar school places in Sevenoaks.  The ruling means that any new Sevenoaks annexe must be the same as the sponsor school.  Only a girl’s school would be allowed while Weald of Kent remains single-sex; a co-ed school would only be possible if Weald of Kent itself becomes co-ed by the time a new one opens.  We will have to rethink but our campaign goes on.”