Schools looks to become first grammar

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A non-selective secondary school is understood to be one of the first in the country to announce plans to possibly convert to a grammar school following Theresa May’s proposed reforms.Mixed-sex Meopham School, near Gravesend, Kent, is consulting with parents on proposals to change to a mixed-entry grammar school for new entrants from September 2018.The plan would involve pupils sitting a Meopham Selection Test, while students currently at the school would continue to be taught there.The school has around 550 pupils enrolled and it was rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted in a 2014 inspection. It joined the Swale Academies Trust in 2013.In a letter to parents on Thursday, trust principal Jon Whitcombe said it recognised the proposed change was a “potentially contentious issue”, but stressed it was at an early stage.He wrote: “Meopham School currently has a very high number of bright and able pupils who are already being challenged and pushed to perform at and, in many cases, exceed that which would be expected in a grammar school setting.”We also have a completely new and exciting set of buildings currently being built ready for occupation in 2017, with high quality specialist provision which will cater for the most able.”We understand from our knowledge of the local community that there is a need for additional grammar school places in the area.”We also believe many parents would welcome the opportunity to have a local mixed grammar school provision as an alternative to the current single-sex grammar schools.”This year, 71% of pupils at the school achieved five or more good GCSEs, including English and Maths – the highest results in the school’s history.The announcement comes amid continuing debate over Mrs May’s plans for more grammar schools, with ex-chancellor George Osborne insisting the focus of education policy should be on the academy system and free schools.last_img