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Grammar offers 10 places to those triggering "pupil premium"

(176 Posts)
legallady Fri 20-Dec-13 10:36:05

Forgive me if this is a regular occurrence at other grammars but for those on the recent grammar thread, I thought it was interesting that Nonsuch High ( highly selective grammar in S W London) has reserved it's first 10 places for girls who have triggered the pupil premium at their primary school at any time in the last six years.

I know it's only ten out of 180 but at least they have thought about it. It may well be that they're just after the additional money but I like to think that their motives are a little more altruistic than that!

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:18:01

Would they check the results though. What I mean is that obviously some will have been on it only briefly and others longer. How would it be ensured that the one who gets the place was Infact amongst those who did have poorer attainment as a result. And not loose out to someone who was recently only on it briefly and who didn't suffer academically as a result.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 17:23:04

How would it be ensured that the one who gets the place was Infact amongst those who did have poorer attainment as a result.

No - nothing like that can be looked at. That's all subjective and schools aren't allowed to start applying extra tests like that. The starting point is that a pupil who has triggered PP whilst at primary school is disadvantaged compared to other pupils. Some will be more worse off than others but all are considered to be on the back foot for grammar school applications.

It will simply be a case of giving 10 girls who have triggered PP in the last 6 years (proof to be submitted with application) places via a higher admission category. So there will be a non-subjective tie breaker if more than 10 of them apply and pass. It will either be score or distance.
The school aren't allowed to start making decisions about who the most deserving is just as a religious school aren't allowed to do extra checks to see who is the most religious. They have to have a list of people they give priority to and defined tiebreaker based on fact not opinion and then they have to apply it.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 17:27:09

What I mean by religious schools is that if they save, for example, 20 places for churchgoers and 25 churchgoers apply, they aren't allowed to choose the 20 "most religious" The tie breaker must be based on a factual thing like distance. That might mean the 5 most religious people miss out but that's the way it has to be. Schools cannot cherry pick. Once they've set the criteria, they can't add extra tests and checks afterwards.

And with Nonsuch, the tiebreaker won't be who has the lowest income for longest. All FSM pupils who pass the test will be treated as equal and if there are more than 10 of them a distance / score / fact-based tie breaker will be used to see which 10 get the places.

Retropear Fri 20-Dec-13 17:28:45

So the rich aren't affected at all.They still get their tutored and privately educated kids in but those not on pp but not wealthy miss out.

Said places will come from poorer families just above or the squeezed middle the Tories love to hate who can't afford tutoring as their results will be lower.

Shouldn't think any rich families are the slightest bit worried.

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:31:58

They're all given a chance to sit the test and presumably even if those 10 have scores below the rest they are accepted. Actually sound very fair. To register for FSM you have to give proof of benefits or an NI number presumably where they can check eligibility for tax credits/income online. I can't really imagine many being in a position of claiming benefits then getting a job and after only five years of saving have enough for the deposit on a house, because you can't claim benefits if you have savings of over a certain amount and you also have to wait for a certain length of time before you can claim (e.g. after redundancy). And many are still paying off previous debts. Might happen to divorced parents who never worked before, claim benefits then get a divorce settlement, but children in that situation are suffering emotional deprivation too.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:33:27

So it's pot luck really?

I mean te principle is lovely, to give them a better chance but it could potentially miss people who would benefit the most. It could seem unfair to many that their child didn't get in despite te crappy life they have has, yet that month their neighbour spent on FSM got her in.

It's better than nothing I guess but it will still screw some people over.

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:34:21

The interesting thing would be to see if the over tutored rich start turning their nose up at Nonsuch because it admits poor kids. I'm guessing a few would be put off by that.

lougle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:35:16

It won't, Giles. They can't bring a subjective element into it. The criteria for Nonsuch is (as my post of 17:14 says):

-Pass the selective tests which every applicant must pass to get a place
-Live within 5.25km of the school
-Score in the top 10 scores of girls who have qualified for Ever6FSM funding.

If a girl lives within 5.25 km of the school and qualifies for Ever6FSM funding, but ranked 11th in the test compared with the other girls who qualified for Ever6FSM funding, then she would have to take her chances within the other criteria for admission, which means:

-Score ranked 85th or above in test


-living in catchment (5.25km) and ranked within the first (110 - x statemented children of selective ability - x looked after/previously looked after children of selective ability - number of girls admitted because they qualified for Ever6FSM, are of selective ability and live in catchment)


-highest score who pay council tax in a designated area.

Retropear Fri 20-Dec-13 17:40:02

But it's just shuffling places around not reducing rich kids or getting more poorer kids in.As I said it will be those just over or in the middle who will lose places ie not the rich privately educated kids.

It's shit to be honest.

The hard working family that has worked it's butt off to not claim pp gets penalised and the numbers of rich privately kids in state grammar isn't reduced.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:40:39

Right im with you now I think. smile

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Fri 20-Dec-13 17:42:47

I hope all grammars do this as it will benefit so many people who wouldn't usually get the opportunity.
My dds best friend would qualify and she is as bright as a button. certainly wouldn't need tuition to pass the test.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:43:07

I can see what your saying retro

PP is by no means any where near a good enough indicator of Need. But it's all they have until they think of something else. Does anyone know what's happening with PP anyway with this proposed FSM for every infant child as how will they tell? And if a child is no longer on them by juniors would they have been missed if that makes sense?

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:52:14

Wonder how many are coming from private schools to Nonsuch?

In Sutton the proportion at private primaries overall is 5% but in neighbouring Croydon it's 8%, 12% in Merton and probably high in Surrey. But if the average percentage for private pupils at grammars is 13% (i.e. they are better prepared) then I'm guessing maybe 15-20% are from private schools. Anyone know for sure?

5% on pupil premium is a small number in comparison. Sad reflection of the times that people should resent the poor for taking up the places rather than the rich.

JohnnyBarthes Fri 20-Dec-13 17:53:37

I bore myself, but once again I am so bloody glad we live in a normal part of England where we ditched the 11+ years ago.

soul2000 Fri 20-Dec-13 22:49:12

At first glance this looks very good, its only when you look at the Dept of Education Performance figures, that the real story comes out.

Nonsuch has 1.8% FSM pupils out of 910 pupils in Yr7-11 that equals 182 pupils per year = 3 FSM Pupils per year Average.

What is more telling though is that in the last 6 years according to the Dept of Education, 4.9% of Pupils have at one time been eligible for FSM.

This is almost identical to the 5.4% that they are reserving places for.

There are other problems with this, one being what happens if 10 girls with FSM don't get the required score. If this happens do the school take the highest scoring 10 girls regardless of whether they "PASSED" . If they were to do that this could lead to all kinds of problems about whether the girls should be there.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:11:27

what happens if 10 girls with FSM don't get the required score

The places left empty are given to the next category down just like at any other school with such criteria (some schools reserve 10 places for drama or music aptitude for example but if there's only 7 talented enough pupils to fill those spaces that leaves 3 spare places which are then given to the distance category or whatever category is the next one down the list.

Under no circumstances would a grammar school admit a pupil who had not passed the test (very rarely that can happen on appeal later on but never in the initial allocations round). They won't give out all 10 places unless there are 10 girls that qualify by both passing the test and having triggered the PP.

lougle Fri 20-Dec-13 23:13:58

more than that, tiggy:

qualify by passing the test, triggered the Ever6FSM PP and live within 5.25km.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:17:11

As an aside, grammar schools are the only ones with permission to leave places unfilled indefinitely. If they have 210 places to offer but only 190 children, over all categories, pass the test, they will only offer those 190 places. They won't let children in who haven't passed to bump up the numbers. They are allowed to leave those 20 places empty for as long as it takes to find people suitable to fill them (when new people move to the area, ask to take the test and then pass it).

In reality this doesn't happen. Nonsuch has nearly 2000 children sitting these tests. Not only do they have plenty of children of the right calibre (about 600 pass the test) but they are then in a position to just take the top of top by score as the deciding factor. If 10 of that 600 don't qualify for the PP then it just means those places get moved into the general category.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:19:00

Yes lougle - sorry - and the distance restriction too.
My point was Nonsuch won't just fill the places with anyone who has triggered the PP and happens to apply. The candidates must pass the test above all other things. That is the first requirement that all pupils must meet regardless of where they live / FSM status etc.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 20-Dec-13 23:19:54

Soul There was I feeling heartened at least one state Grammar was addressing the issue hmm . Surely the issue is making the entrance exams truly tutor proof? When I applied it was teacher assessed with the borderlines going for a one day assessment exercise of tests, interviews and other activities to build up a full picture to act as a quality control. It is only ten years ago that the Grammar School area my family live in abandoned that system in favour of VR / NVR and the proportion of FSM has gone down and private school pupils getting in has gone up sad

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:26:33

They've abandoned VR as well (or they are going to for the 2015 intake). They're joining the other schools to do a stage 1 test followed by maths and English papers.
Many grammar schools seem to be moving in that direction now.
It doesn't stop the tutoring though, just changes it slightly and arguably makes it less effective than teaching children to reliably get full marks in VR papers. Children are now doing 20 minute timed essays with tutor input on interesting punctuation and sentence structure alliteration and metaphors, they're proof reading misspelt passages and adding the grammar and they're covering the Year 7 maths syllabus. You cannot stop people tutoring for these tests - with 10 to 12 applicants per place, the stakes are very high and parents approach it like a military campaign!

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:34:01

..and grammar schools aren't allowed to interview, have selection days or anything of that kind any more. It all has to be faceless and not subjective. They must set a test and state in advance how they will allocate places when (as is certain) far more children pass that test than they can ever hope to accommodate.

They can't ask teacher opinion, have interviews, make judgements about who is disadvantaged etc.

curlew Sat 21-Dec-13 00:03:41

Window dressing. They have to sit and pass the bloody test first. And pupil premium children don't. So big whoop to the school for a meaningless bit of self promotion.

tiggytape Sat 21-Dec-13 09:42:53

They have to sit and pass the bloody test first. And pupil premium children don't.

That isn't correct - they do have to sit and pass the test.
No child can be offered a place without passing the test first

What happens at Nonsuch though is, 600 girls pass the test (2000 take it) for less than 200 places.
So a lot of people miss out on an offer. The way they decide who misses out is by score - someone who exceeds the pass mark by 10 points won't get an offer above someone who exceeds it by 11 points.
This change isn't much but it does ensure that a child who triggered PP can be offered a place with a lower qualifying score than a child who hasn't triggered PP so in the final cut, they have a shot at a place that they might have been beaten to otherwise.

OnGoldenPond Sat 21-Dec-13 14:35:42

I think curlew meant that DCs on pupil premium don't pass the test not that they don't have to pass the test.

All this could be avoided if the last remaining grammar schools were abolished and we consigned this unfair system of determining a child's whole future by an ex taken at age 11 to history. A proper comprehensive system would give ALL children a fair chance.

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