Grammar ‘pays lip service’ to expansion rule

Tes is reporting that one of the first grammar schools to announce plans to bid for government funding to help it expand stands accused of paying “lip service” to rules aimed at promoting social mobility.

Kendrick School, an 11-18 selective girls’ school with academy status in Reading, Berkshire, announced last week that it intends to bid for money from the government’s £50 million Selective Schools Expansion Fund. It wants to grow the school by adding one entry form.

But a petition has been launched after the school opened a consultation on its plans without stipulating what steps it intends to take to increase the number of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A key proviso is that applicants must include “ambitious and deliverable” proposals in their bid to increase access to disadvantaged pupils, defined as those eligible for the pupil premium.

Just 2.1 per cent of Kendrick School’s pupils are currently eligible for the pupil premium.

The petition calls on the school “to set aside any new places resulting from their expansion bid for girls on [the] pupil premium”.

The local parent behind the petition, James Coombs, said the school’s current efforts paid “lip service” to social mobility. 

 “This funding is specifically for grammar schools which have ‘ambitious and realistic plans for increasing access for disadvantaged pupils’. The only way Kendrick can possibly achieve this is by setting aside the additional 32 places for disadvantaged girls.”

Read more Grammar ‘pays lip service’ to expansion rule

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