“There are two single sex grammar schools in Skipton, where I am a parent governor. The VA grammar school gained funding for new buildings under the Basic Need programme. It immediately increased its admissions number in 2003 and forced it through 1 year ahead of the consultation process laid down in the Admissions Code of Practice and ignoring the Schools Organisation Committee. North Yorkshire LEA, instead of referring the increase to the Adjudicator, increased the admission number at the other VC grammar school on the basis of equal opportunity. This meant a 26 % increase in available grammar school places yet the number of children from the town allowed entry remained the same. This meant that all of the places would be drawn from children in other schools’ catchment areas. These schools and neighbouring LEAs referred the increase to the Adjudicator but the increase was allowed to proceed. £3-4m of funds will have been spent on the two grammar schools but no increase in access for Skipton’s children. Both schools have failed to fill up to their new admissions number in the subsequent years.
Coaching for the 11+ is rife yet year after year North Yorkshire deny that coaching has any effect. The school serving the poorest part of the area send few children to the grammar school all the while getting excellent SAT scores. This gives the LEA little cause for concern. There are so few children going from the poorer part of the town that in any ballot about the continuation of selection no parent in that area would get a vote.”