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Meopham School’s grammar hopes scrapped as government backs down on manifesto pledge to lift school ban

PUBLISHED: 15:49 30 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:56 30 June 2017

Meopham School

Meopham School

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The non-selective school had consulted on plans to become a grammar

Controversial plans for Meopham School to convert into a mixed-sex grammar have been halted by the government’s announcement that it will not be lifting a ban on selective schools.

In September last year Swale Academies Trust, proposed bringing the 11-plus exam to the comprehensive school, one of three run by the trust in the county, claiming there was a need for grammar places in the area.

A consultation soon followed, which showed public opinion was tipped against any change to its status.

Feedback from the consultation showed 54 per cent of parents and residents, 64 per cent of current students, and 51 per cent of staff did not want the school to convert.

Gravesham’s current selective schools are Gravesend Grammar School and Mayfield Grammar School, both of which had lower scores than Meopham’s in last year’s Progress 8 scores, a new score which reflects the progress a student has made from the end of primary school to the end of their GCSEs.

Both grammars however did perform better in the new Attainment 8 tables, which combines a student’s grades across eight qualifications to create a score.

Following on from education secretary Justine Greening’s announcement on Tuesday keeping the grammar ban, Meopham School is expected to adopt a grammar stream, a special curriculum tailored to brighter students.

Former Gravesend head teacher Peter Read said: “I don’t believe Meopham School was ever serious about becoming a grammar.

“It would have been a very silly option to bring forward because of the impact it would have had on the number of non-selective school places in north west Kent.

“There would be no need for additional grammar places if the two Dartford grammars focussed on Kent children rather than taking in students from London.”

Figures reveal Dartford Grammar School for Boys is set to take in 79 students from out of the county come September including 26 from Greenwich, while Dartford Grammar School for Girls, will take in 55.

Neither grammar responded to a request to comment and we have also approached Swale Academies Trust.

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