UPDATED: Dozens of unfilled places at Bucks grammar schools

Grammar schools in Bucks have dozens of empty Year 7 places which could have been filled by local children, it has been claimed.

Thursday, 22nd January 2015, 7:00 am
The Sir Henry Floyd has the highest number of unfilled places

Figures obtained from Bucks County Council by a campaign group show that the grammars are currently carrying nearly 100 empty Year 7 places.

The Sir Henry Floyd has the highest number at 29, while the High School has nine.

The group said that one of the reasons for the spaces was because out-of-county children chose not to take up their offers of grammar school places.

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Yet at the same time, they say that Bucks County Council has been putting pressure on local upper schools to increase their Year 7 intake in order to meet the shortfall in secondary school places.

Rebecca Hickman, from campaign group Local Equal Excellent, which was set up to challenge the grammar school system, said: “Unfortunately, these new figures are likely to cause outrage for the many local parents whose children were denied a grammar school place in 2014.”

She added: “The grammar schools are serving their local communities less and less. Yet it is difficult to find a local politician who is prepared to stand up for the many children who are losing out.

“If a local authority believes any school admissions arrangements to be unfair they are obliged by law to report those arrangements to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator.

“However, the political leadership of Bucks County Council refuse to do so, and so are effectively saying to parents that they consider the way in which the 11-plus is working to be fair.”

Stephen Box, headteacher of the Sir Henry Floyd School, said there were empty places at his school because not enough children from the Aylesbury area qualified from the 11-plus.

He said parents feeling angry at the figures was ‘not neccessarily the correct reaction’.

“If the qualifying score suggests an upper school education then that is in the child’s better interests. I have been an upper school headteacher myself and I know full well there is just as much great teaching going on there as in the grammar schools.”

He added that the Floyd had taken an extra class in Year 8 so the school was actually running at capacity.

The breakdown of schools with empty places is as follows:

> John Hampden Grammar School – 22 empty places

> Chesham Grammar School – 19 empty places

> Burnham Grammar School – 11 empty places

> Aylesbury High School – 9 empty places

> Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School – 29 empty places

> Sir William Borlase Grammar School – 1 empty place