Stories + Views
This private school ‘won’t change a thing’ when it opts into the state sector but what about its selective admissions?
Note this paragraph in the Guardian’s piece about private schools ‘opting in’ to the state sector:
“Parents of children at Moorlands, a £5,000-a-year preparatory school in Luton, bought flowers for staff when they heard fees were being abolished, says the principal, Andrew Cook, proudly. “We don’t want to change one aspect of what we do; 18 is our maximum class size. We believe our particular traditional brand of education works with children from all social backgrounds.”
How will this school be able to maintain class sizes of 18 if it is funded on the same basis as other schools? Moreover take a look at the school’s existing admissions criteria in the PDF here marked Main School Parent Handbook:
a) All candidates (internal or external) are assessed on their aptitude and
ability, with reference to no other criteria.
b) All external candidates for admission to the School shall attend an
informal assessment morning, bring their most recent report with them.
c) Prep school applicants (age 7+) may be required to sit an entrance
examination in English and Mathematics.
d) Where the number of eligible external candidates exceeds the number
of places available, a waiting list shall be established.
e) References shall be sought from schools/nurseries currently being
attended by external candidates.
f) Pupils are admitted to the School on the understanding that their
promotion in due course through the School depends upon a
satisfactory record of conduct and achievement.
Will the admissions criteria be one of the features of Moorlands that won’t be changing? If so how does this square with Michael Gove’s claim that all free schools must abide by the Code of Practice on School Admissions, which rules out use of references, school reports and selection by ability( in all but existing grammar schools)?