Colyton Grammar 's £490k to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds

PUBLISHED: 07:01 10 December 2018

Cllr Martin Shaw. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Cllr Martin Shaw. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

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But county councillor says the government award is unfair on 'struggling' non selective schools

Colyton Grammar School has been given £490,000 to develop its work to support and encourage entry for able students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It is one of 16 selective grammar schools in the country to secure a share of a £50 million fund from the Department of Education to boost its efforts in this area.

The school has added its own funds and money from other external sources, to create a total pot of almost £612,000 for the scheme.

But the award has been criticised by Seaton and Colyton’s county councillor Martin Shaw who says extra government funding should benefit all schools – not just selective ones.

Over the past two years Colyton Grammar has seen numbers registering to take the entrance test treble.

The number of Pupil Premium students in the school since the initiative was launched is nearly double the national and county level of highly achieving disadvantaged Key Stage 2 students.

Colyton has achieved this by working closely with 10 local primary schools on a range of projects to boost educational aspiration and applications to the school.

Support and resources are available to all primary schools within Colyton’s commutable area.

As well as providing support to prospective Year 7 students from disadvantaged backgrounds, Colyton is also working with applicants to its Sixth Form from similar backgrounds.

As a result, 74 per cent of applications have come from local comprehensive schools.

Headteacher, Tim Harris said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding by the Department of Education. Our work to date has been hugely successful and is thanks entirely to the dedication of colleagues and students, and the willingness of schools in the area to partner with us. We have achieved results so far without additional funding from outside the school – this recent award will help us to build on our initial successes.”

But Cllr Shaw a member of the Independent East Devon Alliance group, said: “Colyton Grammar is an excellent school and I support its case for improved funding for its ongoing activities, as I do for all local schools.

“However I do not support the Government’s £50 million extra funding to expand grammar schools and I am disappointed that Colyton Grammar School put itself forward for this controversial scheme.

“Additional capital funding should benefit the education of all children, rather than being used to expand a small number of selective schools. It is not right that Colyton Grammar School should benefit from millions of additional funding purely because it is a selective school, when under-pressure local schools which are open to all children receive no funding boost.

“I also share residents’ concerns that expansion of the school would exacerbate the traffic problems which bussing pupils to and from the school already cause in Colyford, and to which no solutions have yet been found.”

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