Kent and Bucks towns with grammars but no non-selective school 

In Burnham in Buckinghamshire, the non-selective school closed, leaving only a grammar school. Now children who don’t pass the 11-plus have no local school and face a long commute. A campaign group, ‘Burnham Secondary School for All’ has been highlighting the problems. There is no suggestion that the grammar school will admit all local pupils, but with the council claiming there are not enough pupils to fill a second school, wouldn’t this be an obvious thing to consider?  There is a similar situation in Cranbrook in Kent, with children facing a 10 mile commute. One local mum said, “In four short years, my daughter will be starting her secondary school journey, something that should be an exciting new chapter for her. A place to make new friends, to form a social group and continue to develop into her future self. And yet all I can think is how she’ll have to leave the house at 7am and won’t get home until 5pm. How she won’t live near her new friends. Also, when will she find time to do her homework, relax with friends or have the energy to do anything other than commute to and from school?”

Read more HERE.

Out of county pupils fill half the places in some Gloucestershire grammars
More than 1,400 children are filling Gloucestershire’s grammar school places from out of the county – up by 700 from before the pandemic. The grammars are accepting pupils based on high scores in the selection test rather than a pass and catchment area. The BBC reports that some pupils are being accepted from postcodes in areas hours away from the county, such as in Slough in Berkshire, Leicester in Leicestershire and Harrogate in North Yorkshire. In Denmark Road High School more than half of year 7 pupils live outside the Gloucestershire area. A local tutor highlighted the problems for those accepted at the school, “It is not good for the children because little 11 and 12-year-olds are leaving home at 7am. They are getting back very late, falling asleep sometimes in afternoon lessons because they are absolutely exhausted.”
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‘I regret sending my daughter to a grammar school, ‘a Lincolnshire mum writes about selection The ‘i’ newspaper carries a powerful personal story from a mum who found her daughter struggled with the high pressure environment in a grammar school. She writes,  ‘I honestly feel that grammar schools should no longer be around. They are dated and snobbish. They push students down paths they do not want to go, simply for the school’s own stats.’ The piece explains why the girl was moved from the school for the sake of her mental health, with too many teachers appearing to prioritise grades and not notice the girl was struggling.

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“Grammar schools are braced for an influx of private school pupils.” 
The Times and the Telegraph have both published recent stories about wealthy families considering grammar schools as an option, due to Labour’s planned move to add VAT to private school fees. The number of parents whose children are preparing for the 11-plus  jumped by 39 per cent in the past year, according to one online tuition business. It seems bizarre that so many people assume wealth buys grammar school places, and yet are not prepared to speak out against this fact. This is a problem that can easily be fixed, we don’t need grammar schools at all.
Read more HERE (paywall)

The Sutton Trust launches Fair School Admissions campaign

The Sutton Trust has launched a new campaign asking schools to ‘make meaningful change to their admissions processes in order to support all children in their communities.’ Now that most schools are their own admission authorities this is a practical way to ask schools to review policies to ensure they are working for social equity. The campaign includes a Fair School Admissions Pledge and a Fair School Admissions Award.

Read more HERE.
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