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Medway's Fort Pitt, Holcombe and Chatham grammars could become mixed gender

The next stage towards changing half of Medway's grammar schools so both boys and girls can attend have been approved.

Girls' schools Fort Pitt Grammar and Chatham Grammar, and boys' school Holcombe Grammar could become mixed gendered under plans put forward by Medway Council.

Children in a classroom. Stock image
Children in a classroom. Stock image

The aim is to tackle the lack places of for boys in selective schools in the Towns.

A report presented to councillors said 23% of the Medway's Year 6 pupils can attend selective schools in the area if they have passed the Medway Test – formally known as the 11-plus.

However, girls' places have to be filled with out-of-area pupils, and there is not enough places for boys.

The proposed changes mean 5% more children who pass the Medway Test could get a place at a grammar school in the area, resulting in an approximate 50/50 split of boys and girls' places.

Cllr Martin Potter (Con), portfolio holder for education and schools, explained the changes would come into force in September 2024 if approved by the Regional Schools Commissioner, starting with the new Year 7 intake.

Cllr Martin Potter
Cllr Martin Potter

The remainder of the school year groups at the three schools – which are all academies – would be kept single sex.

During a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, councillors agreed to begin a period of consultation, which will be followed by surveys carried out by the schools themselves.

They also agreed the council will put forward funding for any physical adaptations to the schools which may be needed to allow for the changes.

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