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Nearly 200 Disadvantaged Students to be Offered Places at King Edward VI selective schools

193 children eligible for Pupil Premium will today be offered places at King Edward VI selective schools in Birmingham. This is an increase of almost 30% on last year’s intake and comes as a result of new admissions policies that were introduced this year by the King Edward VI Academy Trust, guaranteeing places to disadvantaged children that met the qualifying score in the entrance test. Heath Monk, Executive Director of the King Edward VI Foundation said: “We are delighted that our new policy has increased opportunities for disadvantaged children across the city. This reaffirms our commitment to make our selective and independent schools available to all, regardless of their background.” In addition, King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls was one of only six schools in the country to be awarded a grant under the DfE Selective Schools Expansion Fund (SSEF). The £2.7m grant will enable the school to offer an additional 32 places to high-attaining girls each year, helping to redress the historic gender imbalance in selective places in the city. Amy Whittall, the Headteacher of Handsworth said: “The grant will not only allow the school to increase its intake, but will also enable us to create a modern Design and Technology facility, encouraging more girls to pursue careers in, for example, engineering.” As part of the admissions changes, catchment areas were created for each of the six selective schools, so that more children would be able to attend their local selective school, if they achieved a “priority score” of 222 in the entrance test. The proposals were controversial and attracted significant opposition and several formal objections, all of which were dismissed by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator. Heath Monk said: “We have always recognised that there would be winners and losers under the changes that we have made. But we believe that they will lead to a fairer and more transparent system in the future.” He added: “We are keeping the catchment areas and scores under review. For example, we know that not all high-scoring non-Pupil Premium children in the Five Ways and Camp Hill Boys catchment areas will receive an offer today. However, we are confident that sufficient places will become available over the next few months – and they will be top of the waiting lists for those schools.” Over 1000 children eligible for Pupil Premium applied to sit the entrance test. All were given access to an online package of support, enabling them to prepare for the test and providing information about the schools, including messages from successful Year 7s in previous years. Heath Monk added: “We’re delighted that, through the Grammar Schools Heads Association, 25 other selective schools were also able to use our familiarisation materials. We hope that they have helped to level the playing field for applicants from more disadvantaged areas.”