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Birmingham's grammar schools to be role models for selective schools across the country

Birmingham’s grammar schools to be role models for selective schools across the country

Birmingham’s grammar schools are to be role models for selective schools across the country, as the Government announces funding of £50 million to provide more places.

A massive expansion of selective education will give more children the chance to go to a grammar school, Education Secretary Damian Hinds is announcing today.

But grammar schools applying for a share of the £50 million nationwide will be told to ensure they give more places to children from less wealthy families.

They will be encouraged to follow the example of selective schools in Birmingham, which reserve some places for children eligible for the pupil premium.

This is an extra payment given to schools for every pupil from a disadvantaged family. It also means children receive free school meals.

Bishop Vesey, in Sutton Coldfield, and five of Birmingham’s King Edward VI Grammar Schools reserve places for pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium. Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls gives priority to them if they pass the 11+.

The government is launching the Selective Schools Expansion Fund, with grants available for 2018-19 so that existing selective schools can expand their premises to create more places.



King Edward VI School for Girls Handsworth

It says this will give parents greater choice and give more children, from all backgrounds, access to a good school place.

But schools will have to submit a “Fair Access and Partnership Plan” setting out what action they will take to increase admissions of disadvantaged pupils.

A statement from the Department for Education highlighted Birmingham’s grammar schools as role models, saying: “Research shows pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds attain better results in selective schools and around 60% of these schools already prioritise these children in their admissions.

“For example, King Edward VI in Birmingham actively encourage more pupils from less privileged backgrounds to join their schools, including considering 11+ results for disadvantaged pupils separately to their non-disadvantaged counterparts.”

Despite this, the announcement is likely to be controversial with opponents of selective education.

At the same time, supporters of grammar schools may be disappointed that all the money will be spent on expanding existing selective schools, rather than opening new ones.

Some towns and cities currently have no grammar schools.

The Government is also inviting new applications to open “free schools”, which are state-funded and independent of local councils. There are currently 300 of these.

Funding will be available to open more faith schools.



Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls
Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls

And universities and independent schools will be encouraged to work more closely with state schools.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Children only get one chance at an education and they deserve the best, wherever they live and whatever their background. Standards are rising in our schools and we’ve created hundreds of thousands of new places since 2010 but we want to make sure every family can access a good school.

“By creating new schools where they are needed most and helping all great schools to grow, we can give parents greater choice in looking at schools that are right for their family – and give children of all backgrounds access to a world-class education.”

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