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									                                DETERMINATION

Case reference:                ADA/000482

Objector:                      Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls,
                               Warwickshire

Proposer :                     King Edward VI School Stratford-upon-Avon

Date of decision:              19 December 2003



1.   The referral

The Governing Body of Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls (“the
girls‟ grammar school”) has referred an objection to the Adjudicator about the
admission arrangements (“the arrangements”) for King Edward VI School (“King
Edward”), a voluntary aided grammar school for boys, for September 2004. The
objection is to the admission of girls to the sixth form.


2.   Jurisdiction

The admission arrangements were determined under section 89(4) of the
School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (“the Act”) by King Edward‟s
governing body which is the admission authority for the school. The governing
body had not consulted the girls‟ grammar school before determining the
arrangements, nor had they notified them of the determined arrangements as
they should have done under section 89 of the Act (as amended by schedule 4
to the Education Act 2002). The girls‟ grammar school submitted their
objections to the determined arrangements on 16 October. I am satisfied that
this objection has been properly referred to me in accordance with section 90 of
the Act, and that it falls within my jurisdiction.


In coming to my conclusions, I have had regard to the Act and Regulations
made thereunder, the Code of Practice on School Admissions (“the Code”),
Part III of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Part III of the Race Relations Act
1976, Part IV of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and all the evidence
presented so far as it is relevant to the objection.


3.   Procedure

I have considered the parties to this adjudication to be King Edward, the girls‟
grammar school, and Warwickshire County Council (“the LEA”). The LEA are
the admission authority for the girls‟ grammar school, and also have
responsibility for securing the supply of school places for the area.

I held a meeting on 3 October 2003, attended by the parties and by
representatives of four other schools who had objected to the arrangements.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss matters relating to jurisdiction,
procedure and the collection of evidence, and not to receive representations on
the objections. On the same day I visited the girls‟ grammar school to see the
premises with particular regard to the school‟s view that they would experience
organisational and financial difficulties with the indicated admission number of
75 based on the school capacity assessment, rather than their existing
admission number of 60, which relates to separate objections that I am
considering.

The documents I have considered in reaching my decision include:




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      letters and enclosures of 16 and 20 October 2003 from the girls‟
       grammar school;

      letters and enclosures from King Edward of 1 September, 17 September,
       23 October, 5 November and 28 November 2003;

      insofar as they relate to the girls‟ grammar school‟s objections, letters
       and enclosures from the LEA of 11 September, 13 October, 15 October,
       18 November 2003;

      maps of the area identifying relevant schools.

4. Consideration

King Edward propose to admit up to 96 pupils to the sixth form in 2004. Entry
will be open to girls as well as to boys, but the admission arrangements say the
number of girls to be admitted will not exceed 25% of the total number of pupils
presently in the year group. (If the number of girls admitted were to exceed
25% of the number of pupils in the age group in question normally at the
school, the change would be a “prescribed alteration” to the school and require
the publication of notices under section 28 of the Act).

The girls‟ grammar school say King Edward‟s proposals, far from widening
opportunities for girls, in fact narrows them by creaming off the top ability girls.
The sixth form is a period of transition where boys and girls can work together –
this is secured by collaborative courses where the ethos of each school is
maintained. This is the policy of the LEA and has been followed by their
school. They say King Edward‟s references to collaboration, with the exception
of teaching 3 sixth form girls Critical Thinking, are all related to administrative
and management questions. There is no sign of the wide collaboration for




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students which is envisaged by the LEA. They say King Edward claim their
proposal will widen opportunities for girls, but all these are available at the girls‟
grammar school which has at least as high a standard and which has been
equally praised by Ofsted. Students who wish to have a coeducational
education can attend Alcester Grammar School which draws even more widely
from other school. Girls are therefore well catered for. If King Edward wished
to offer opportunities to other students it could provide opportunities for boys by
widening its entry, as does Laurence Sheriff School in Rugby. They are
concerned that they may be obliged to consider offering admission to their sixth
form to boys, even though their current pupils are overwhelmingly against it.
They say research shows that both boys and girls do better in single sex
schools.

„ The LEA say they have adopted a 14-19 strategy which recognises the
entitlement of young people to a broad range of courses, programmes and
qualifications, and that this can only be provided through collaboration. They
say they and all their schools with the exception of King Edward are committed
to the principle of collaboration and the development of “commonwealths” of
schools in each area. Although King Edward engage in a number of joint
ventures, the LEA say they are not prepared to consider any joint provision of
courses and programmes which could address the issues of curriculum breadth
which they are seeking to address by the admission of girls to the sixth form.
The LEA say there is no evidence to suggest that this will broaden opportunities
for young people in the Stratford area, and that it has the potential to weaken
the range of provision.

King Edward say their aims in admitting girls to the sixth form are to make sixth
form places available to a greater number students. The admission of able




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students, boys and girls, into the sixth form will enhance the academic nature of
the school and benefit the whole sixth form. Secondly, although the school will
remain essentially a boys‟ school, the sixth form is increasingly a period of
transition between school and university, and there is much to be gained from
boys and girls working together at this formative time. They say there are
around 80 schools nationally where this occurs and such schools certainly
contribute to a broadening and enriching of educational provision locally. The
claims about collaborative arrangements need careful examination. They do not
doubt that some collaboration over courses is possible between Stratford High
School and the College. But they say the collaboration involving Stratford
Grammar School for Girls is in reality very slight. Collaboration is seen as being
about purely attendance at courses, whereas they are looking to provide a full
all-round education, and they expect their pupils to be full-time members of the
school. They say that goes far further than the kind of collaboration envisaged
by the LEA.

The Learning and Skills Council (“LSC”) in a letter to King Edward in February
2003 say they endorse the two main tenets that “there is much to be gained
from boys and girls working together” and that “the sixth form education which
the school provides…..should be made available as a matter of choice to girls
as well as to boys”. But they go on to advocate addressing these vital precepts
through the joint LSC/LEA area review which at that time seemed set to
recommend increased post-16 collaboration between Stratford institutions. For
example, girls from the Grammar School and boys from King Edward could
readily access post-16 courses at either school. The economies of scale and
increased cost-effectiveness would allow expansion of choice.




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5. Conclusions

King Edward‟s arguments for the admission of girls to the sixth form are not
strongly persuasive. It would be a useful addition to sixth form numbers, and it
would be good for the boys to work with girls as they prepare for University, but
the school will remain a boys‟ school. On the other hand, if there are girls and
their parents who would value what King Edward‟s sixth form have to offer, that
choice should be made available to them if it is consistent with the local
strategy for the development of post-16 education. The girls‟ grammar school
say the present provision provides good choice for girls. The LSC and the LEA
have undertaken an area review for 14-19 education, and the LEA say all
schools except King Edward are committed to the principle of collaboration.
King Edward say they do collaborate, but acknowledge that they expect their
pupils to be full-time members of the school. Ultimately collaboration will only
be successful if there are willing parties, and if the arrangements made can be
seen to be to the advantage of pupils and students in every school and college.
But the proposal to admit girls to the sixth form is unwelcome to the schools,
the LSC and the LEA who are at an early stage of trying to improve post-16
education arrangements for all pupils in the area.       The proposal does not
appear to be critical for 2004, and I conclude that it would be better to defer the
development until there has been more time for the parties, including King
Edward, to consider meaningful collaborative arrangements for 14-19
education. Each school is entitled to a degree of independence and the
LSC/LEA strategy will need to take account of that. At the same time, King
Edward should be willing to consider some of the collaborative measures which
it appears it has until now rejected.




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6.   Determination

In accordance with section 90 (3) of the School Standards and Framework Act
1998, I uphold the objection to the admission of girls to the sixth form, in the
admission arrangements determined by the governors of King Edward VI
School, Stratford-upon-Avon.

I determine that the admission arrangements for the school year beginning in
September 2004, a copy of which is attached to this determination, should be
amended as follows:




     1. On page two, under the heading “Sixth Form”, delete the second
        sentence referring to the admission of girls.

     2. On page two, under the heading “Sixth Form”, delete the second “spot”
        referring to the number of girls to be admitted.




                                       Dated:     19 December 2003




                                       Signed:


                                       Schools Adjudicator: Mr Andrew Collier




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