Scores of gram­mar school places empty

New fig­ures may cause ‘out­rage’ with par­ents

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THERE are almost 100 empty year seven gram­mar school places, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by a pres­sure group.

The fig­ures from Bucks County Coun­cil have been re­leased for the first time by lo­cal cam­paign group Lo­cal Equal Ex­cel­lent.

The cam­paign group aims to high­light what it feels is a gap in ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment and fair­ness in the gram­mar school sys­tem.

It has al­ready cam­paigned against the new 11-plus test, which was in­tro­duced for the last in­take who took the exam.

The fig­ures show the num­ber of empty places in year seven at Bucks gram­mar schools, in­clud­ing Che­sham Gram­mar.

Head teacher Philip Wayne, also chair­man of the Buck­ing­hamshire Gram­mar School, said it was not un­usual to have some places left and it pro­vided another chance for lo­cal pupils to get a place.

The places ‘empty’ are:

Sir Henry Floyd Gram­mar School – 29

John Ham­p­den Gram­mar School – 22

Che­sham Gram­mar School – 19

Burn­ham Gram­mar School – 11

The gram­mar schools are serv­ing their

lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties less

and less”

that

are

Ayles­bury High School – nine

Sir Wil­liam Bor­lase Gram­mar School – one

In 2014, nearly 300 more Bucks chil­dren than in 2013 were told they had not qual­i­fied for a gram­mar place.

The group ar­gues if the 2013 qual­i­fi­ca­tion rate for Bucks chil­dren had been main­tained, 89 more Bucks chil­dren should have qual­i­fied than ac­tu­ally did – almost the num­ber of places left empty.

The cam­paign­ers ar­gue the rea­son for the gap is due to the high num­ber of out of county pupils sit­ting and pass­ing the exam but choos­ing not to take up places.

Re­becca Hick­man of cam­paign group Lo­cal Equal Ex­cel­lent said: “Un­for­tu­nately, th­ese new fig­ures are likely to cause out­rage for the many lo­cal par­ents whose chil­dren were de­nied a gram­mar school place in 2014.

“The gram­mar schools are serv­ing their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties less and less.

“Yet it is dif­fi­cult to find a lo­cal politi­cian who is pre­pared to stand up for the many chil­dren who are los­ing out.”

Mr Wayne said: “The process to fill th­ese places with late trans­fers from lo­cal chil­dren, who take pri­or­ity, is be­ing un­der­taken by the in­di­vid­ual schools, whose re­spon­si­bil­ity it is to op­er­ate the test­ing and ap­peals process.

“This is a sec­ond op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal chil­dren to gain the re­quired qual­i­fi­ca­tion for a gram­mar school place if they wish to do so.”

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