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Limits on grammar school places for disadvantaged children in Redbridge could be scrapped under new plans

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 October 2019

Woodford County High School. Picture: Ken Mears

Woodford County High School. Picture: Ken Mears

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Admissions to Downshall Primary School could be cut and limits on the number of disadvantaged children admitted to grammar schools could be scrapped under policy changes proposed by Redbridge Council.

Ilford County High School. Picture: Ken MearsIlford County High School. Picture: Ken Mears

The council is consulting on issues relating to school admissions in order to update and review its existing policies.

Admissions at Downshall Primary School, in Meads Lane, Seven Kings, could be cut from 90 to 60 after the governing body requested that the school reduces to only two forms of entry due to the difficulty in filling places.

The council is also proposing to remove the limits on the number of children eligible for the pupil premium who are admitted to grammar schools.

The pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools which aims to improve academic outcomes of disadvantaged pupils.

Ilford County High School. Picture: Ken MearsIlford County High School. Picture: Ken Mears

The new policy means there would be no limits to the number of grammar school places offered to children who are entitled to the pupil premium and all children would be offered places.

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Redbridge has two grammar schools - Ilford County High School and Woodford County High School.

"We propose to change the current priority so that it is no longer "restricted" to only 10per cent (18 places)," the council said.

"We hope that this will encourage more applications, as there would no longer be a limit to the number of places that were potentially available."

The council is also consulting on changes to the "reasonable travelling distances" tables, which need to be updated to reflect statutory walking distances.

Wording in the council's admissions policy would be changed to state that it "will make every effort to offer a child below the age of eight a place within a distance of two miles, as based on the shortest walking route, if there are places available".

The consultation on the plans closes on November 25 and residents are invited to have their say.

Comments should be made through the online consultation or e-mailed to admissions@redbridge.gov.uk under the title "Response to Admissions Consultation 2021/22".

All comments will be submitted to cabinet for their meeting on February 11, 2020.

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