Your child is entitled to a free education and private schools are not an option for everyone. So what’s the alternative?
A lot of schools are pushing for, or have already gained Academy status. This means, in brief, that the school is funded by the Department of Education and is independent of control from the local authority. Academies are required to follow the National Curriculum but are free to expand their offering and specialise in one or more areas such as sport, science or technology. This can provide a broader, more balanced curriculum.
Although still early days for the Academies scheme, results suggest that improvements in GCSEs are being seen at a rate of almost double that of a state school.
Essex boasts some of the best grammar schools in the country. Fortunately for us, there are an impressive eight grammar schools to choose from in the county.
These educational hothouses are not for everyone, however for academic kids the results speak volumes.
Key Facts About Essex Grammar Schools
The schools operate a selective admission process with applicants sitting an 11+ exam
. All Grammar schools in Essex require applicants to sit an exam provided by the independent body CSSE (Consortium of Selective Schools) with the exception of Chelmsford County High School for Girls which requires applicants to sit the school's own exam.
The selective process means that the schools will rank applicants according to their exam results and/or the distance from the school of your permanent home address (straight line radius from the school). A permanent residence is considered to be the address in which the pupil resides for the majority of the school week.
It is worth looking at each school's individual admission process. Some schools offer places in two allocations. 1st allocation: Those inside the defined radius ranked according to score; 2nd allocation: a smaller percentage of places allocated to applicants outside of the defined radius ranked according to score. Other schools are open equally to pupils who live in Essex and outside the county and are simply ranked according to score with extra steps in place to determine allocation in the case of over-subscription.
You will need to fill out a Local Authority application form listing your preferred schools. You can list as many grammar schools as you like as long as you do not exceed the number of preferences allowed by the local authority. List them in order of preference, however, if you are applying for a grammar school, you will want your exam results back before applying. You will only be offered one choice on your list. This will be the highest placed school on your list for which your child meets the Admissions Criteria.