The proportion of privately educated pupils attending the city's grammar schools has dropped this year, according to the latest figures.

Of 278 students starting at Bishop Wordsworth’s (BWS) and South Wilts grammar schools in September 2016, 17.6 per cent came from private primary schools.

Both schools have shown a drop in the proportion of new Year 7s coming from private schools – South Wilts had 19 per cent privately educated new starters (down from 21 per cent the previous year) and BWS’s private students dropped to just under 16 per cent (compared to 19 per cent in 2015). St Mark’s Junior School sent 22 children to the grammar schools (10 to South Wilts and 12 to BWS). The large city centre school has three classes per year. Another three-form entry state school, Harnham Junior, sent six boys to BWS.

Salisbury Journal:

Several pupils from single class schools also passed the 11-plus exam. Broad Chalke C of E Primary sent the second highest number of girls to South Wilts, with four pupils from Bemerton St John Primary, four from Downton C of E Primary, three from Woodford Valley Academy and seven from Greentrees Primary School successfully gaining a grammar school place this year.

Overall, 49 students were from private primary schools, with six from Chafyn Grove, nine from Leehurst Swan School, two from Leaden Hall and two from Godolphin.

Salisbury Journal:

A spokesman for South Wilts said: “Each year we always see some fluctuation in the percentage of students coming to South Wilts from the private sector but at the moment there is no discernible trend in the numbers. We are very keen to engage with families from all our catchment area schools so that students from all backgrounds see South Wilts as a local school they feel is accessible to them.”

Headteacher of BWS, Stuart Smallwood, said: “As both schools are increasing their intake and there are only a limited number of private school candidates, then the increase is bound to shrink.”