Ilkley Grammar School considers expanding catchment area

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One of Yorkshire's most sought-after comprehensive schools is considering expanding its catchment area.

Ilkley Grammar School has launched a consultation on the issue of offering places to children living on the High Royds development in Menston.

Parts of the village are currently included in the school's 'Priority Area 2' catchment zone, but the new housing on the site of the former High Royds mental asylum is excluded.

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The Priority 2 boundary would be extended to encompass the estate if the proposals go ahead.

The issue has arisen as some parents with homes at High Royds have struggled to get their children into Ilkley Grammar despite them attending Menston Primary, a feeder school. They are currently considered out-of-area applicants.

Some of the school governors proposed the boundary changes.

Headteacher Helen Williams announced the consultation in a letter to parents, while reassuring those living in the existing catchment area that this would not affect future applications for places.

A further part of the consultation will consider whether to give priority for sixth form places to Skipton Academy pupils wishing to join Ilkley Grammar at 16. If approved, they would be admitted preferentially above other out-of-area applicants. The two schools are now partners within Moorlands Learning Trust and have close links.

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The consultation runs until January 31 and comments can be emailed to consultation@ilkleygs.co.uk. A final decision will then be made by the school governors.

Ilkley Grammar School dates back to 1607, although it later closed and was re-established in 1893 as a fee-paying boys' grammar. Girls were admitted in 1939, and after the 1944 Education Act, which introduced the 11-plus exams, fees were abolished and Ilkley became a state-maintained selective school.

In 1970 it turned comprehensive and remains an all-ability school with academy status.

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In the 2019 government league tables, 65 per cent of Ilkley Grammar pupils achieved a grade five or above in both English and maths GCSE, and only five children in year 11 did not stay in education or training post-16.