Fair Banding Explained

The new school will be an 11-16 comprehensive school serving its local community, with a total capacity of 900 pupils (180 in each of the five year groups).

To help equip pupils with the full range of academic and personal skills necessary to thrive in the 21st Century, the new school will have a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics or STEAM. Instead of a traditional educational curriculum, which treats each of these subjects separately, STEAM reinforces the connection between them all through the opportunity for project-based learning, reflecting the reality of the workplace. This new approach to interdisciplinary learning will be supported through close collaborations with Gloucestershire College, the University of Gloucestershire, and partners from industry and business.

The STEAM subjects will sit within an overall curriculum that is broad and balanced, and the school will promote ambition, leadership, and the determination to do one’s personal best in a supportive, inclusive community.

What impact does a new school have on existing schools?
Whenever a new school opens, it will always have an impact on other schools in the area.

Parents may be attracted to the new school for many reasons including its location, new buildings and facilities, its STEAM specialism, the ethos and culture or - in our case particularly - the reputation of CBAT.

One other influence is likely to be the connection between the new school and others in the Trust, most notably Marling School. In 2020, 2,493 candidates registered for the Gloucestershire Grammar School test for the 1,050 places available, so there is clearly a growing demand for a grammar school education.

To mitigate the impact on other schools in the area, all CBAT schools and Trustees are committed to the values and principles of inclusion and we therefore plan to use Fair Banding as the most effective means to ensure we admit a balanced proportion of pupils of mixed abilities – in other words, a truly comprehensive intake.
What is Fair Banding?
Fair Banding supports the principle behind comprehensive education, as it is intended to make sure that the school provides places to children of all abilities, including low prior attainers. Through Fair Banding, the range of ability of those admitted to the school would reflect the range of ability of all of those applying for a place.

Pupils who apply will sit a test, usually a cognitive ability test (CAT). This is not a selective process or pass or fail test and does not require tuition or special preparation. Following the test, children are put into bands based on their level of ability and then places at the school are allocated equally from each band to make sure there is a proportionate spread of children of different abilities across the school. So everyone has a fair chance of securing a place at the school of their choice.
How would it work in practice?
Imagine 250 children applied to join the school and sit the test. If we operate a model with 5 bands, each band would have places for 50 children. If the school was admitting 180 children into the year group, 36 would come from each band as shown below. This means that equal number of children would come from each of the bands.
How are children selected within a band?
If we receive more applications than there are places available, we apply a set of oversubscription criteria in a similar way to other schools.

Children with an EHCP where the Academy is named, who apply in the normal admissions round, are included in any banding arrangements and given top priority within each band.
What happens if the places are not filled?
If places in a band are not filled or become vacant (if, for example, parents/carers accept offers of places at other schools) and all applicants for that particular band have already been offered a place, the excess spaces will be evenly filled by children falling into the next nearest bands (i.e. the bands on either side, or below or above - so of the first child offered a space is from the band above then the next one is from the one below).
Does being assigned higher Band mean that a child will have a better chance of gaining a place?
Being in a higher band does not increase the likelihood of a child being offered a place. Banding is intended to ensure that a school achieves a balanced intake if it is oversubscribed. It is designed to be fair to all children, whatever their ability.
What happens if my child does not sit the test?
Late applicants and those who do not attend the fair banding test will only be considered if the total number of places available are not filled by pupils who sat the test.
Where will the test be held?
The tests will be held at the school as soon as it is open.

Since it is unlikely the new facility will be available prior to its first year of operation, when the winter or spring term test are held, a suitable location will be identified in the vicinity of the new school.
How do I give my feedback?
Please follow the link below to complete a very short survey on fair banding. Your views are very important to us.