The Daily Mail reports that most grammar schools are favouring the poorest pupils in admissions in a bid to boost social mobility, a new report reveals. Many are giving highest priority to children from disadvantaged backgrounds who pass the 11-plus test.
Others ring-fence places for poor youngsters who meet the required standard while a ‘small number’ set lower pass marks. The pressure to be more socially inclusive has been rising since the creation of new grammar schools became a flagship policy for Prime Minister Theresa May.
The findings have been revealed in the annual report of the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA), which helps clarify the legal position on school admissions policies.
The OSA says that 93 of the country’s 163 grammar schools are using a form of premium – mainly the pupil premium – or taking into account Free School Meal (FSM) eligibility in their over-subscription criteria from this September. It says: ‘Many give the highest priority in their oversubscription criteria, (after looked after children and previously looked after children who meet the required standard in their ability tests) to children eligible for the pupil premium who meet the required standard.
Jim Skinner, chief executive of the Grammar School Heads’ Association, yesterday said that more schools are consulting about introducing pupil premium or FSM priority in 2019.
He said: ‘We are pleased that the number has gone up and are confident it will continue to rise. Grammar schools are very much taking a lead on this.”
The Times Educational Supplement revealed last year that Liverpool Blue Coat School, a grammar, will have a slightly lower entrance pass mark for up to 27 pupils on free school meals from this September.
Head teacher Mike Pennington, told the TES: ‘Social mobility in Liverpool is a massively important thing for us to tackle and to face up to, and to be prepared to try things that are going to change it.’
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