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Headteacher shuts Kent school for two days out of fear Brexit will cause traffic chaos

Lorry drivers will need a special permit to enter Kent from neighbouring counties after Brexit - Credit: PA

A grammar school in Kent will close for two days after Christmas over fears Brexit will cause debilitating traffic jams.

Maidstone Grammar School (MGS) will instead teach pupils virtually between January 4 and January 5.

The all boys secondary school is located a mile away from the M20 , which is expected to rammed with lorries if there are delays at the Port of Dover.

Headteacher Mark Tomkins said students could miss out on important lessons because of teachers being stuck in heavy traffic for hours.

MORE: Brexit border checks trial ends in five-mile-long lorry queue in Kent

Addressing parents in a six and a half minute video, he said: “We just don’t know what’s going to happen but it’s vital we are prepared for all possibly eventualities.”

He added: “I know asking students to stay at home for these first two days of term following all that we have experienced since September is not ideal and is something we have had to consider very carefully.

“It is not a decision that we have taken lightly but in order for us to understand the impact of the UK leaving the EU, we need to give ourselves a small window of time – these two days on January 4 and 5 – to prepare for possible longer periods of disruption if that is required.”

The closure is part of a contingency plan drawn up by the school requested by Kent County Council.

Monday January 4 is the first working day after the Brexit transition period, which ends on Friday, January 1.

If the gridlock persists, the school may be forced to shorten its day to avoid rush hours and ask students to make a staggered return to the classroom.

Touching on a trial to ease traffic, Tomkins said: “All of us in Kent have become familiar with Operation Stack but the warnings that we are receiving regarding potential delays at the coast and the impact this will have on the wider infrastructure in Kent may mean that the impact that Operation Stack causes is much greater in the New Year than under normal circumstances.

“With MGS being only one mile from the M20, it is therefore feasible that many staff and students may have difficulties getting into school for a short period of time until things settle down.

“Having staff stuck in traffic and unable to get to school on time would present considerable capacity and health and safety issues and the last thing I’d wish to be doing is to be sending students home at the last minute in response to a situation which might have reasonably been foreseen.”