Partially selective school (England)
In England, a partially selective school is one of a few dozen state-funded secondary schools that select a proportion of their intake by ability or aptitude, permitted as a continuation of arrangements that existed prior to 1997. Though treated together by current legislation, they are of two types: bilateral schools in remnants of the Tripartite System, and former grant-maintained schools that introduced partial selection in the 1990s. While technically classified as comprehensive schools, they occupy a middle ground between grammar schools and true comprehensives, and many of the arguments for and against grammar schools also apply to these schools. Although there are relatively few schools of this type, several of them score very highly in national performance tables, and are among the most over-subscribed schools in the country.
There are no partially selective schools in Scotland and Wales, which have wholly comprehensive systems, while Northern Ireland retains a grammar system.
Partially selective schools are of two types:
- A bilateral school contains both grammar and non-selective streams, with the two groups of students taught separately. Bilateral schools were originally part of the Tripartite System in more sparsely populated areas unable to support separate schools. Most of those existing today were established in the 1970s in a few areas retaining the Tripartite System.
- Partial selection was introduced in some grant-maintained schools during the final years of the Conservative government led by John Major. Grant-maintained status was introduced by the Education Reform Act 1988, and gave such schools control over their own admissions. Circular 6/93 permitted these schools to select up to 10% of their intake on the basis of ability or aptitude in music, art, drama or sport. Circular 6/96 permitted more selection. By 1997, over 40 schools were selecting up to 50% of pupils.
I am able to confirm that the Bill and the criteria I will lay down as part of our admissions policy will remove partial selection where it currently exists. That causes havoc in terms of the admission of local children, and denies fairness to parents because of the lack of choices and opportunities open to them.
However, the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 permitted selection of up to 10% by aptitude for certain subjects for which a school is a specialist college (section 102), and also permitted the retention of partial selection that existed prior to the 1997 entry, provided that the proportion selected was no higher than that in 1997 (section 100). The 1998 Act also created schools adjudicators, empowered to rule on objections to school admission arrangements, including partial selection. This mechanism has steadily reduced both the number of schools using selection and the proportion of partial selection at the remaining schools.
These schools often also give preference to siblings of current pupils, filling the rest of their places using distance and/or faith criteria. The sibling criterion is particularly controversial, as in combination with selection it often severely limits the number of local children admitted. In response to these concerns, the initial draft of a revised schools admissions code proposed to ban sibling criteria in schools that selected more than 10% on their intake. After many protests, the admissions code as published in February 2007 protected siblings of current students, and permitted schools to give priority to siblings provided that "their admission arrangements as a whole do not exclude families living nearer the school." This phrasing was removed in the revised Code published in January 2009.
A late amendment to the Education and Inspections Act 2006 amended the 1998 Act to limit the proportion selected to the lowest level at any time since 1997. This forced four Hertfordshire schools to lower their proportion of academic selection from 35% to 25%.
Partial selection today
|Lincolnshire||King Edward VI Academy||Mixed|
|Reading||Reading Girls' School||Girls|
|Southend-on-Sea||St Bernard's High School for Girls||Girls|
|St Thomas More High School for Boys||Boys|
To be admitted to the selective stream, applicants must achieve the qualifying standard in an eleven plus exam, typically shared with local grammar schools. In practice, some of these schools do not fill their allocation of selective places due to competition from the neighbouring grammar schools. Unlike grammar schools, they are required to fill any remaining places with non-selective applicants.
|LEA||School||Gender||Selective proportion of intake||Siblings||Coordinates|
|Barnet||Mill Hill County High School||Mixed||10% technology, 10% music, 5% dance||yes|
|Croydon||The Archbishop Lanfranc School||Mixed||15% general ability||yes|
|Edenham High School||Mixed||15% general ability||yes|
|Riddlesdown High School||Mixed||15% general ability||no|
|Shirley High School||Mixed||15% general ability||yes|
|Dorset||Budmouth Technology College||Mixed||12% general ability||yes|
|Dudley||Old Swinford Hospital||Boys||27% general ability||yes|
|Essex||The King John School||Mixed||15% general ability||yes|
|Hertfordshire||Dame Alice Owen's School||Mixed||32.5% general ability, 5% music||yes|
|Parmiter's School||Mixed||25% general ability, 10% music||yes|
|Queens' School||Mixed||35% general ability, 5% music, 5% sport||yes|
|Rickmansworth School||Mixed||25% general ability, 10% music||yes|
|St. Clement Danes School||Mixed||10% general ability, 10% music||yes|
|Watford Grammar School for Boys||Boys||25% general ability, 10% music||yes|
|Watford Grammar School for Girls||Girls||25% general ability, 10% music||yes|
|Kent||Archbishop's School||Mixed||15% general ability||yes|
|Chaucer Technology School||Mixed||15% general ability or technology||yes|
|Homewood School||Mixed||20% general ability, 1% music||yes|
|Westlands School||Mixed||10% maths||yes|
|Lambeth||Archbishop Tenison's School||Boys||weighted banding||yes|
|London Nautical School||Boys||nautical or sport||yes|
|Liverpool||King David High School||Mixed||17% music||no|
|St Hilda's Church of England High School||Girls||15% general ability||no|
|St Margaret's Church of England Academy||Boys||15% general ability||no|
|Nottingham||Nottingham Bluecoat School||Mixed||10% maths and science||yes|
|Peterborough||The Kings School||Mixed||10% general ability, 2.5% music||yes|
|Poole||Poole High School||Mixed||10% general ability||yes|
|Southend-on-Sea||Cecil Jones College||Mixed||10% general ability||yes|
|Shoeburyness High School||Mixed||10% general ability||yes|
|Surrey||The Winston Churchill School||Mixed||9% general ability, 5% music||yes|
|Sutton||Greenshaw High School||Mixed||24% general ability||yes|
|Wandsworth||Burntwood School||Girls||25% general ability||some|
|Chestnut Grove School||Mixed||20% art and design, 20% languages||some|
|Ernest Bevin College||Boys||⅓ general ability||some|
|Graveney School||Mixed||25% general ability||some|
All of these schools are over-subscribed. All except Old Swinford Hospital, Archbishop Tenison's School and the London Nautical School select the highest scoring applicants under each criterion.
References and notes
- Schools that can select pupils, ParentsCentre, Department for Children, Schools and Families.
- School Admissions Glossary, Lincolnshire County Council.
- Schools (Selection), House of Commons Hansard Debates, UK Parliament, 11 Jun 1996.
- Debate on School Standards and Framework Bill, Clause 90, House of Commons Standing Committee A, Tuesday 24 February 1998.
- John Coldron; John Williams, Jane Fearon, Kathy Stephenson, Angela Logie and Nicola Smith (2001). "Admission policies and practices of selective and partially selective schools in England". British Educational Research Association Annual Conference. Leeds.
- House of Commons Hansard Debates for 22 Dec 1997, UK Parliament, 1997.
- School Standards and Framework Act 1998, HMSO.
- Anne West; Hazel Pennell (2002). "How new is New Labour? The quasi-market and English schools 1997 to 2001". LSE Research Online.
- Admission by selection, Select Committee on Education and Skills Fourth Report (School admissions), UK Parliament, 14 July 2004.
- Julie Henry (2007-01-07). "Sibling places are saved in selective intakes". Sunday Telegraph.
- School Admissions Code, Department for Education and Skills, February 2007.
- School Admissions Code, Department for Education and Skills, January 2009.
- "Schools reported to selections watchdog". Watford Observer. 2007-05-02.
- House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 8 Feb 2006 (pt 7), UK Parliament.
- John Coldron; Emily Tanner, Steven Finch, Lucy Shipton, Claire Wolstenholme, Ben Willis, Sean Demack and Bernadette Stiell (2008-01-31). Secondary School Admissions. Department for Children, Schools and Families Research Report DCSF-RR020.
- "Admissions". King Edward VI Humanities College. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "Information Guide 2012 Entry". The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex.
- "Secondary School Admissions". Torbay Borough Council.
- "A guide to secondary school education in Barnet". Barnet Borough Council. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Secondary schools". Croydon Borough Council. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "School Admissions: Related Documents". Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.
- "School admissions and transport". Hertfordshire County Council. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Admission to Secondary School in Kent 2011". Kent County Council. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "Schools admissions". Lambeth Borough Council.
- "School Admissions". Liverpool City Council.
- "Secondary School Admissions". Peterborough Borough Council. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "The Winston Churchill School".
- "Transfer to Secondary School". London Borough of Sutton.
- "Choose a Wandsworth Secondary School: A guide for admission to secondary schools in Wandsworth in September 2011". Wandsworth Borough Council.
- The Wandsworth partially selective schools (see above) give priority to siblings only where the sibling was admitted prior to September 2008 or lived close enough to the school to be admitted under the distance criterion.