Herts & Essex High School wins right to prioritise Manor Fields girls for places
Herts & Essex High School has won its battle to give priority for places to girls at Manor Fields Primary School.
The Office of the Schools Adjudicator scrutinised the Bishop’s Stortford secondary’s plan after complaints from parents who feared their daughters would be disadvantaged by the policy.
Manor Fields, on Thorley Park, joined the Herts and Essex Multi-Academy Trust (HEMAT) last September, prompting the change.
This week, H&EHS head Cathy Tooze confirmed: “We are very pleased that we are able to support Manor Fields by making this change to our admissions arrangements, and that the adjudicator is convinced by our reasons for wishing to do so and is confident that the effect on applicants from other primary schools will not be significant.”
The ruling puts Manor Fields girls fourth on the high school’s priority admission list after children in care, girls with a sibling at the school or with a parent on the staff.
The revised arrangements will apply for entry to the Warwick Road school from September 2019, affecting the cohort of girls whose families will be making secondary school applications this autumn.
H&EHS has promised to monitor the impact annually. This year, it would have resulted in the admission of one extra Manor Fields girl.
The school says it has “fought hard” to increase its provision of single-sex education in Bishop’s Stortford, increasing the overall number admitted each year by 20 since 2016.
“This, alongside the new sports hall, new sixth-form accommodation and an increase in the number of classrooms in the main school – all due for completion this coming academic year – ensures that the school will continue to be able to deliver the excellent education the community has come to expect, to a greater number of students, on an ongoing basis.”
Despite the new admissions criteria, Herts & Essex High School estimates that 87% of its 180-pupil annual intake will still remain to be allocated to girls at:
■ All Saints, Summercroft and Thorn Grove
■ St Joseph’s, St Michael’s, Thorley Hill and Windhill21
■ Northgate and Richard Whittington
■ Little Hallingbury and Spellbrook
■ Albury, Furneux Pelham, Little Hadham and St Andrew’s in Much Hadham.