Top comprehensive gets selection go-ahead

24th May 1996 at 01:00
The country's top comprehensive is to go selective. From September 1997, the 120 boys admitted to the Blue Coat School in Liverpool will have to sit an exam, with places awarded on a first-past-the-post basis.

Gillian Shephard, the Education and Employment Secretary, has given the voluntary-aided school permission to introduce selection nearly three years after criticising its admissions procedures.

She told the school either to stop choosing pupils through interview and recommendation from primary heads or apply formally to become selective. Critics complained that Blue Coat's ranking in exam league tables was unfair to other comprehensives because its admissions procedures amounted to covert selection.

But Peter Healey, chairman of governors, said the school received 500 applications for 120 places.

Mrs Shephard has taken more than a year to reach her decision to allow the school to go selective amid threats from Liverpool city council about the possibility of a judicial review.

It is now seeking counsel's opinion whether to pursue its complaints that selection at the boys-only school would have serious implications for equal opportunities - as girls would be denied a grammar school place - and could place the local education authority in breach of the Sex Discrimination Act.

Labour faced embarrassment a year ago when it emerged that Peter Kilfoyle, a member of the party's parliamentary education team, sent his son to Blue Coat. He claimed to have rejected an alternative school when it went grant-maintained.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now