Saturday, 14 November 2015

Boys Grammar School Open to Girls!

After 200 years an under-subscribed boys grammar school which dates back to 1817 could be set to open its doors to girls.
A letter sent out to parents today (Monday) revealed Chatham Grammar School for Boys is launching a public consultation to change to gender make up of the school - as well as its name.
In a letter sent out by executive principal Stuart Gardner and other senior leaders, the plan was outlined for girls to be allowed into the school at Year 7 starting from September 2017.
He said it would be “an exciting opportunity for parents in the local area to have a greater choice in the type of education they would like their son or daughter to experience”.
They also would need to change the name of the school, and have suggested Holcombe Grammar School or Holcombe House Grammar School, reflecting the site the school is on and the way former pupils call themselves ‘Old Holks’.
The main reason for the change is huge under subscription to the school.
Historically it has been the second preference boys’ grammar school. In 2014, only 55 people made it there first choice, while for 160 it was second behind the Rochester Math School.
The numbers are not sufficient to fill the school, and it means they lose up to £200,000 of government funding per year.
Because of that the school had to make cut backs to the curriculum - and now does not offer drama at Key Stage 4.
In the letter to parents Mr Gardner said: “If the school were able to move to a secure intake of 118-120 in each year group then the school would be able to offer students greater breadth of curriculum choice and greater support.”
The school’s sponsor is the Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT) and another idea is to work more in partnership and give priority to children who attend any of the trust’s primary schools; including New Horizons Children’s Academy, Gordon Children’s Academy, Junior and All Faiths’ Children’s Academy.
Chatham Boys was only the second grammar in the county to be put into special measures by Ofsted in June 2013. Now Good, the school leaders believe the time is right to make the change.
Mr Gardner added: “There is significant positive momentum in the school, the school has significant staffing with experience of co-ed and girls’ educational settings.”
Chatham Boys already has experience of incorporating and educating girls in the sixth form and has recently acquired new PE facilities for girls including changing rooms and toilets.
The parents and pupils were informed this afternoon, and the public consultation is open until January 5.
It will be the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Education Funding Agency who make the final decision in February.

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