Girls in Kingston could soon have a greater chance of getting into one of the best schools in the country.
Tiffin Girls’ School has revealed plans to introduce a catchment area for the first time, giving priority to applicants living in south west London and north Surrey, stretching between Ealing to Epsom and Walton to Mitcham.
According to the Richmond Road school’s draft admission arrangements, the proposals have arisen amid concern for out-of-borough students travelling long distances.
It reads: “We are delighted that the school is popular and thriving, however, we are increasingly concerned about the distances some girls are expected to travel each day to and from school.
“We believe that all our students should be able to participate fully in the life of the school, both in and outside lessons, and have time to enjoy their time outside school too.”
The school, rated top girls’ school in the national A-level league tables in 2010, has come under increasing pressure to admit more children from the borough.
In 2012, 1,879 pupils applied for just 150 places.
A campaign lead by the nearby Burton Road, Richmond Park Road and Gibbon Road residents’ association was set up to encourage residents to lobby the school to accept more Kingston pupils.
Last January headteacher Vanessa Ward rejected pleas from nearby parents to adjust the admissions criteria to allow more children from the borough to attend.
However, 76 per cent of people who voted in this newspaper’s online poll supported more places for Kingston students at the Richmond Road grammar school.
Under the new proposals, applicants will still have to sit an admissions exam, but priority will be given to those who live in the catchment area, and who perform highly in the exams.
Councillor Andrea Craig said: “I am absolutely thrilled to hear about this proposal. We live in an area full of children academically capable of going to the school, and it is great to hear that this may be helping local students to get accepted.
"The school is very community minded anyway, and this properly embodies the philosophy.”
Zac Goldsmith, Richmond Park MP, said: “I am so pleased to see that the school is serious about providing more support for local children, and addressing the huge distance some girls are travelling to get there.
"It is a hugely impressive school, and this move can only strengthen it.”
The Admissions Code 2012 maintains that parents who live outside a school’s catchment area may still express an interest in the school, but Tiffin Girls’ said these pupils would be unlikely to get a place.
Parents are being asked to comment on the proposed arrangements in writing by noon on February 13.
The new catchment postcodes in full
KT1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 19
TW1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16
SW13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 W4, 5, 7, 13
To see the proposals in full visit tiffingirls.kingston.sch.uk
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