Pate's Grammar School praised for inclusiveness
A CHELTENHAM grammar school has been praised for its inclusiveness in a high-profile report.
Pate's Grammar School, in Princess Elizabeth Way, was highlighted in a study which criticised some comprehensive schools for being too selective.
The study, by the Sutton Trust education charity, found in many cases, children from poorer backgrounds end up in separate state schools from their wealthier contemporaries, regardless of residential boundaries.
However, Pate's, which is working with 12 Cheltenham primary schools to broaden access, was praised for its community involvement.
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Once a week it takes in the more academically-minded for special classes.
In a section headed ways forward, the report said: "We believe grammars should consider outreach activities to encourage pupils from less privileged backgrounds to apply.
"Weekly afternoon classes for talented pupils at primary schools in the less advantaged areas of town surrounding Pate's have helped to boost achievement."
Pate's headteacher Shaun Fenton said: "Children from all backgrounds know they will thrive at Pate's. No one is lost in the crowd.
"Our students leave with life-changing qualifications and secure self-esteem."
The report used the number of students receiving free school meals as an indicator of social divides.
In the top five most selective schools in England, less than five per cent of pupils receive the free meals, despite a ratio of 35 per cent eligibility in the catchment areas.
The study also found that of the 100 schools deemed most selective, only 17 were grammar schools.
Mr Fenton said: "Grammar schools work hard to enable students, from whatever background, to benefit from an academic education enriched by extra curricular activities and caring pastoral support."
Lead researcher Dr Robert Coe, from the University of Durham, said abolishing grammar schools is not the answer to greater inclusion.
There are 164 grammar schools in England, with seven in Gloucestershire. The county has 37 comprehensive schools.
The report suggests a review of grammar school entrance tests to see if they deter bright pupils from applying.
Of the 100 most selective schools, 34 were single-sex, suggesting parental school selection helps spread the divide.