More than 60% of grammar school pupils are from outside the town

From the Slough Observer:

GRAMMAR schools are facing pressure to change their admissions policies after shock figures revealed only 32% of pupils in some selective schools are from Slough.

Schools across the town are scrambling for extra buildings to take in more pupils as a crippling classroom crisis hits – with another six secondary schools needed by 2019 to meet overwhelming demand for places.

However, figures released by a Freedom of Information request, show more than 60% of pupils at three of the four Slough grammar schools are from outside the borough, including locations as far afield as west London, Surrey and Reading.

Councillor Preston Brooker, who sits on the education and children’s services scrutiny committee, said: “The shamefully low proportion of Slough young people gaining places in some of our grammar schools is a serious issue which has been raised frequently by myself and others in our meetings.

“Ultimately these schools decide their own admissions policies, but I hope they will recognise that they need to be doing much more to provide places for our bright and ambitious young people.”

Figures show St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar School has only 32.09% of its pupils coming from Slough – although school officials say the number is 38%

32.84% of Slough Grammar School pupils and 38.31% of Langley Grammar pupils live in the borough.

Ken Richardson, chairman of governors at Langley Grammar School, said:

“They are selective grammar schools and take the top so many children that perform in the 11+ exam. Unless we do something like restricting the entry area then we will continue to have this problem.”

The school selects its pupils based on who scores highest in the 11+ test – from a catchment area stretching to Harrow, Ealing and Twickenham.

Mr Richardson added:

“We offer a number of places to Slough children who refuse us to go elsewhere in Buckinghamshire – last year we had around 50 turn us down. It’s purely down to parental choice.”

He added the school in Reddington Drive would be reviewing its admissions policy in October. The figures are different at Herschel Grammar School, where 65.96% of pupils are from Slough.

Jo Rockall, headteacher of the school in Northampton Avenue, said while 70 children are selected purely based on their exam scores, the school ensures local children are not left out by giving places to the closest 50 applicants who have passed the 11+ exam.

She added 76% of Year 8 pupils students are from Slough, and said:

“We’re very committed to children in the town, and work with a lot of primary schools.”

The school also has a smaller catchment area than the other grammars, covering Slough, South Bucks and Windsor.

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