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Royal Borough raised concerns about social mobility at Marlow grammar school

James Harrison

A newly-released letter has revealed the Royal Borough raised concerns about social mobility during discussions about a satellite grammar school in Maidenhead.

The letter from the Royal Borough to Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School (SWBGS), in Marlow, saw the council seek assurances for pupils from low income backgrounds as part of proposals for the two to collaborate on the school.

The letter’s publication comes after research by former shadow education secretary Lucy Powell showed SWBGS currently has just three students on free school meals.

In a statement, a council spokesman said: “Sir William Borlase did acknowledge our letter dated August 10, 2016.

“However, no substantial work has happened as the Government shortly afterwards announced its consultation on education.

“We await the results of this consultation and will use that to inform how we proceed with any possible selective education in the future.”

SWBGS has been contacted for comment.

What the letter said:

In recent months we have explored the practical considerations for a satellite operation of Sir William Borlase Grammar school in Maidenhead and have identified a number of requirements which will have to be articulated in a future business case to the Department for Education if we decide to proceed.

Before we get to that point however, it is clear that a critical success factor for the Council will be the ability of the arrangements to create genuine and accessible “ladders of opportunity” for students from low income backgrounds. These ladders should enable significant numbers of these young people to thrive in the school and go on to secure opportunities in leading universities and professions as very many of your students do today.

I therefore invite the school to set out its vision and proposals to enable this level of access and success for the cohort of pupils whose family income restricts their opportunity from an early age. We are very interested to understand the evidence base that underpins your proposals and expectations you have of the wider education system for success.

Can you please acknowledge this request and confirm a date during the autumn term 2016 by which I can plan to receive your proposals. Thank you in advance for your continued support for and interest in this important project for the Royal Borough

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