Disadvantaged pupils to receive better access to ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ places

A government initiative to enable disadvantaged pupils to receive better access to high-quality school places has been expanded with a £50m investment

According to a new government investment of £50m, disadvantaged pupils are set to have access to more ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school places.

Launching the second round of the Selective Schools Expansion Fund, the Department for Education will be making money available for grammar schools to create additional places.

This is only available if they demonstrate how they will attract more disadvantaged pupils and work with other schools in their area to raise standards locally.

School standards minister, Nick Gibb, said: “Selective schools are some of the highest performing schools in the country and so it’s right that more pupils should have the opportunity to benefit from the world class education they provide.

“It’s also right that access to those places should be fair to pupils from all backgrounds, which is why selective schools must demonstrate how they are going to admit more pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, if they are going to expand.

“It is also a requirement that selective schools work with other schools in their area. Whether through a multi academy trust or an informal partnership, we want to see more selective schools using their expertise to improve opportunities for a wider group of young people.”

All schools that bid to expand must submit a Fair Access and Partnership Plan, setting out how they will improve access for disadvantaged pupils.

The DfE has published the plans of those schools that were successful in round one, making clear the extent of the work that will be undertaken to make sure as many young people as possible, regardless of their background, can benefit from a place at an ‘outstanding’ school.

Chief executive of the Grammar School Heads Association, Jim Skinner, commented: “We are delighted that further selective schools are being given the opportunity to expand.

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“The number of pupils reaching secondary age means that it makes absolute sense that, just like other good and outstanding schools, they are able to expand.

“The work we are doing with the Department for Education through our Memorandum of Understanding, is proving most valuable in extending the initiatives that member schools have undertaken in recent years, to increase access for disadvantaged pupils and support other schools in raising standards for all children.

“Along with the Selective School Expansion Fund, this work is making an important contribution to ensuring more children receive the high quality education that is right for them.”

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