A Shropshire grammar school is to throw open its doors to boys from deprived areas of the borough in a £2.6m overhaul of its approach to equality of opportunity, the Shropshire Star reports.
Haberdashers’ Adams’ Grammar School in Newport has been given a huge grant from the Government’s Selective Schools Expansion Fund (SSEF), designed for schools that can prove they are serious about improving access for disadvantaged pupils and helping them achieve their potential.
It has meant a green light for a new building at the school’s traditional home near the centre of Newport, and will also see boys from disadvantaged areas around Telford & Wrekin getting to the front of the queue in a shake-up to the selection process.
Headteacher Gary Hickey told the Shropshire Star it was the realisation of his ambition to make the school more inclusive.
“It’s very exciting, it’s been a long time coming. It’s the biggest expansion of the school in its 400 year history,” he told the publication.
“There will be a new teaching building on our current grounds which will mean we will be able to increase our numbers.”
Construction is to begin on the new building in the next few weeks.
The first new additions will join next year. Thirty boys will make up a new Year 7 group.
That first cohort will progress through the school and be followed by others, meaning that after five years, there will be an extra 150 boys at the school – 30 in each school year group.
And those boys will come from areas of Telford & Wrekin that previously have not sent many children to grammar schools – the selection process is being transformed so that boys from the most deprived areas in north and central Telford will be given priority.
The school intends to use the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI), which measures deprivation relating to low income.
Primary schools in deprived areas around Telford & Wrekin have been identified and boys from these schools who apply and pass the entry test will be given priority over pupils from anywhere in the country.
More than 30 primary schools have been marked out in areas around north and central Telford, encompassing Wrockwardine Wood, Leegomery, Wombridge and more.
Registration for the 2021 Year 7 entrance exam has been extended to 4pm on September 10. The test itself has been delayed until October.