National Grammar Schools Association
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August Update from the NGSA


Following NGSA chairman Robert McCartney's public warning about the dangers to grammar schools of  accepting academy status without knowing the full implications (see, the Academies Act has been amended to ensure that grammar schools that  take academy status will still have the legal protection of a parental ballot before their selective admission arrangements can be changed.

However, there was another clear warning in the Times Education Supplement on 6 August from John Howson, the managing director of  Education Data Surveys:

'[Grammar schools that become academies] are risking everything on the hope that this coalition Government will last. All it will take is for this Government to collapse, say over the Alternative Vote, and a minority Labour government to get in and they could put a single-clause bill through in one day that would stop these grammars from being able to select.'

Despite the complacent and misleading claims of some (pro-comprehensive) grammar school heads, such fears are well founded. 

Hidden away in the 'Supporting documents/Associated resources' to the Academies Act ( is Annex B to FA – Admissions 05-08-10 v2. pdf . (Please note the date – August 2010.) This is entitled  'Requirements for the Admission of Pupils to the [x] Academy' and it confirms that  a grammar school that becomes an academy 'is permitted to continue to select its intake by reference to ability'.

But this document also makes a very disturbing statement that should worry all grammar school governors, parents and heads considering academy status:

'Annex E to the funding agreement will set out the procedures for removing selective arrangements.'  (Emphasis added.)  Annex E has not yet been published.

An ICM opinion poll in February 2010 found 76% of those questioned would like to see more grammar schools. So why should the option to remove selective admissions arrangements from grammar schools that become academies be offered, if the intentions of ministers and their officials towards the remaining grammar schools are honourable?

We strongly recommend that all governors, parents and headteachers keep a close watch on the DfE and NGSA websites, and any other developments, to ensure they do not jeopardise the future of the remaining grammar schools.

16 August 2010.

Important postcript 

Soon after this warning was published, the Annexes to the Funding Agreements for academies and all references to them disappeared from the Department for Education's website. Fortunately, we had a copy of one document, which we publish HERE for your information. Its title, 'Removal of selection at wholly selective Academies', does not give cause for confidence.