Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the Selective School Expansion Fund.
Selective School Expansion Fund
Today, Monday 3 December, we have announced the 16 successful applicants to the Selective School Expansion Fund (SSEF). This has been covered by the Daily Mail and the Times.
The SSEF was launched in May following the Schools That Work for Everyone consultation. The fund provides a share of £50 million to allow selective schools to expand, on the grounds that they show how they will increase access for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and work with other schools through Fair Access and Partnership Plans (FAPPs).
The 16 successful schools have all set out clear actions showing how they will prioritise access for children on the pupil premium and undertaking outreach work with local schools. Over half of the schools have committed to lowering the mark required to pass the entrance test for pupil premium pupils, and many will also help children attending schools in less affluent areas in preparing for entrance tests.
This announcement builds on the 825,000 new school places created since 2010, leaving us on course to reach an expansion of one million places by 2020.
Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, said:
One of the stand-out features of this country’s education system is its diversity, and selective schools are an important part of that. They include some of the best schools in this country, with almost all selective schools rated Good or Outstanding, and they are popular with parents. So it is right that when there is need for more places in an area, these schools should be able to expand – as other schools can – to enable as many children as possible to benefit.
I have always been clear that selective schools will only be able to expand if they meet the high bar we have set for increasing access for disadvantaged children, and all of these schools have done that. As a result, countless more children from disadvantaged areas will benefit from places at outstanding schools.