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Grammars can still select pupils as academies: Government

Ministers have moved to reassure grammar schools that they can continue to select pupils if they become academies.

The assurance came amid concerns that under the coalition government's plans, schools that became academies could change their admissions arrangements and become all-ability.

About a third of Kent's grammar schools have registered an interest in becoming academies among a total of more than 100 primary and secondary schools in Kent and Medway.

Schools minister Nick Gibb insisted there was no question that the selective admissions or the 11-plus would end if grammars opted to become academies.

He was responsding to a question tabled at Westminster by Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch (Con).

Grammar schools had been warned off applying for academy status by the National Grammar Schools Association (NGSA). It advised schools to proceed with "extreme caution" in view of the potential "covert dangers" of the policy.

The organisation's chairman, Robert McCartney, claimed parents might not be consulted about a subsequent decision to change admissions arrangements and let in pupils of all abilities.

Ms Crouch said: "I am delighted by what the minister said. There was some concern after the statement put out by NGSA when it was quite clear that under the plans that grammars could remain selective."

She defended the move to allow outstanding schools to be fast-tracked under the government's programme, saying that it would allow education authorities to focus on helping schools with problems.

"Rather than drain council resources, these schools will be able to remove themselves from local authority allowing authorities to focus on those that need most help," the MP said.

Eleven grammar schools graded as outstanding have expressed an interest in becoming an academy. They are Tonbridge Grammar School; The Judd School; Barton Court; Maidstone Grammar School; The Skinners School; Highsted Grammar; the Weald of Kent Grammar; Dartford Grammar and Simon Langton Girls Grammar and Chatham and Clarendon House grammars.


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