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Grammar Schools

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL2914, tabled on 18 November 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of grammar schools have been granted dispensation from the Department for Education to arrange their admissions procedures in favour of disadvantaged pupils who are eligible for free school meals, in each of the last five years.

Answered on

26 November 2014

All schools with academy status, including grammar schools which are academies, may give priority in their admissions arrangements to disadvantaged children (ie those eligible for the pupil premium). The freedom granted through the funding agreement, allows these grammar schools to lawfully implement oversubscription criteria prioritising disadvantaged children within their admission arrangements, should they wish to do so. It is for the individual grammar schools to decide whether or not to adopt this priority within their own oversubscription criteria. To date, we understand 32 grammar schools have prioritised disadvantaged children in their arrangements and a further 65 intend to consult on doing so.

Maintained schools – including maintained grammars – can currently adopt this freedom if they are granted a Power to Innovate Order. However, we have revised the School Admissions Code to allow all state-funded schools to adopt a pupil premium priority, should they wish to do so. Subject to parliamentary approval the revised Code will come into force in December 2014.