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Grammar trying to change from all boys to co-ed

(12 Posts)
dobedo Wed 11-Nov-15 14:08:23

Just wondering what other peoples opinion and view on this is to see if I am jumping to conclusions.

Our Ds is currently in yr8 at this all boys grammar school. The school has just sent out letters saying that they are going for public consultation to change the school from all boys to co-ed in Sep 2017. On the face of it we don't see a problem with it changing although we are slightly annoyed as we chose an all boys school for a reason and now it is changing to co-ed.

However, when reading through the large document that they sent out the school is generally 15 places under PAN every year from years 7-11. This means they are under funded but still have the same running costs as if they had those 15 places filled. I would then understand this to mean that the school is currently unviable financially going forwards. They have also said although they have a 5 year plan this will include the need to start cutting options, for example, they are going to remove Drama from KS4. This may not worry some people but our Ds is quite creative and enjoys Drama and Music and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that it will be the art subjects that will be cut first as they are not compulsory for GCSE.

With this extra knowledge we are wondering whether it is worth sticking around and hoping that if it does go co-ed and they manage to fill the PAN that they will bring back Drama for KS4 so our Ds at least has the option of it for GCSE or would you start looking around and putting out feelers? Our only real options are to put his name down for other grammar schools in the area hoping that there is movement in the next few years and he gets a place or to look into the local private options. We can just about afford this but will cut down on holidays each year. Or are we worrying unnecessarily?

Helenluvsrob Wed 11-Nov-15 14:11:50

Very odd that a grammar is running under PAN. are there not kids of the required standard falling over themselves to fill the places? THats 1/2 class under, it's huge!

The first thing they need to do is fill those places to allow options to stay open etc surely? I'd be really concerned. A grammar should be hugely oversubscribed surely?

Going coed is neither here not there overall I think!

dobedo Wed 11-Nov-15 14:15:15

They are undersubscribed as they didn't have a great reputation previously but it has changed management and massively improved and is now a 'Good' school. It gets excellent results as expected from a grammar school but is always slightly behind the other boys grammar school in the same area.

There are obviously plenty of children around that could fill the spaces but they are not allowed to fill up their PAN with children who did not pass the 11+, this has also been stated in the document sent out to parents.

Yes it is effectively half a class missing in each year group.

Helenluvsrob Wed 11-Nov-15 16:43:43

interesting... round here the schools are " superselective" so there is no " pass mark" for the 11+ they start at the top mark and work down till the school is full. There is also a lower banding for pupil premium kids too.

I'd say they need to get their systems sorted and fill the school somehow. I'd be thinking about moving your DS if you can. You can't rely on on it turning things round if it's allowed the numbers to drop so low the finances don't work out.

Good luck

dobedo Wed 11-Nov-15 19:21:05

Im glad someone else thinks looking around is a good idea. We feel that the co-ed thing is being used to hide the real problem at the school which seems financial viability.

BrendaFlange Wed 11-Nov-15 19:31:16

An undersubscribed grammar school?
Say where it is and MN-ers from far and wide will apply next year and take their problem of under subscription away from them!

It isn't really practical or right to provide places that are surplus to requirement in the area, is it? Is there a shortage of girls grammar places?

These are all things to put forward in the consultation. I would see what happens - they may decide to address the under subscription in a way that keeps it a boys school.

BrendaFlange Wed 11-Nov-15 19:35:48

Often in 'superselective' schools -those with no distance criteria with admissions done solely on competitive performance in the tests and not in a grammar area so targeted by parents from a huge area - there is a stage 1 test, the 11 plus, and children who pass this go on to take the second round. In our area the cut off for super selectives is way, way above the pass rate for the 11+.

TalkinPeas Wed 11-Nov-15 21:36:03

OUr local Catholic school had to go co-ed to fill up its empty spaces

its had a good effect on results

Luxyelectro Wed 11-Nov-15 22:06:00

There are also 2 under subscribed excellent grammars on the Wirral. The girls is better than the boys though
Calday grange and west kirby both have places and took every single child that passed and wanted a place last year ( and most previous years I'm aware of)
The girls school in particular is amazing and I don't understand why it has places!

Op. Where is this school???

dobedo Thu 12-Nov-15 17:25:25

The school is in the south east and the equivalent girls school is also under PAN. This makes me wonder where the co-ed girls are going to come from if there are already places available at the equivalent school?

Also it makes us slightly suspiscious that the same academy trust has bought out about 4 schools all in the same area, 2 primary and 2 secondary. It suggests to us that they are going to make the primary schools feeder schools into the secondaries but i assume to do this they would have to change the grammar to a normal comp.

Does anyone know how easy or difficult it is to change a grammar school to a comprehensive?

MumTryingHerBest Thu 12-Nov-15 17:53:10

BrendaFlange Say where it is and MN-ers from far and wide will apply next year and take their problem of under subscription away from them!

Advertise the Grammar school in Harrow. There are no selective schools in their local area so they travel to DAO, QE, SW Herts, Bucks, Berks pretty much anywhere. What's more most of them seem to be prepared to relocate for a place at pretty much any selective school.

BrendaFlange Thu 12-Nov-15 18:24:15

OP: I should imagine it is pretty easy to change the admission criteria, as plenty of schools do this over lots of things - whether sibling places apply to selective places. adding 'children of teachers' changing to a lottery etc are all things that have changed in schools I know of. They put up a consultation document, and then as long as the change is legal, I imagine the governors vote?

All they need to do is change the admission criteria to distance rather than 11+, maybe add banding, if they like. Surely it would be for subsequent years, so not your DS's year?

So pleased to live in an area where there is no clamour for selectives / grammar because everyone knows that the comprehensives cater well for high ability children as well as for medium and slower speed learners. Must be hard for an LA to provide single sex selective, co-ed selective and the same options for the associated high schools....

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