Queen Elizabeth’s School and Atom Learning unite to break down barriers for disadvantaged children applying to grammar schools

Queen Elizabeth’s School and Atom Learning unite to break down barriers for disadvantaged children applying to grammar schools

QE has teamed up with education technology specialists Atom Learning to support primary school children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Children aged 7–11 who are eligible for Pupil Premium will have free access to online learning resources and to preparation for grammar school entrance tests.

The new support programme, which is open to both girls and boys, helps children extend their learning, developing their core academic skills and building their confidence.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “At QE, we are firmly committed to the principles of meritocracy and of inclusivity. Our admissions process is strictly meritocratic: anyone can apply for places here, irrespective of their financial background. Furthermore, although we welcome pupils from a wide geographical area, QE is very much part of the local community – a Barnet school, just as our 1573 royal charter envisaged. We are, therefore, especially keen to encourage social mobility in areas close to the School.

“This partnership with Atom is about removing barriers: we are equipping disadvantaged children to thrive in their education, helping to ensure that they do not miss out on opportunities. While families do not have to be aspiring to selective secondary schools to take part in the programme, we hope that it will help further broaden access to grammar schools, making them even more socially representative. We naturally hope, too, that some of these families will consider QE for their sons.”

Atom Learning provides an online learning and 11+ preparation platform, giving access to a range of fun and engaging materials to help children during Key Stage 2. It is used by over 100,000 families across the UK, including 14,400 families with children preparing for 11+ exams.

With some families nationwide paying for private tuition and coaching to prepare their children for grammar school entrance tests, the partnership between QE and Atom, with the free support that it offers, should help create a more level playing field for applicants. The programme is open to any child who has been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years, as well as looked after children.

It is designed to benefit all children, whatever their current attainment level; it may also be helpful in familiarising those hoping to apply to academically selective secondary schools with some of the topics and skills that they might encounter in those processes. The programme will not prepare candidates specifically for the QE entrance test.

QE is one of more than 20 grammar schools across the UK with which Atom is running partnerships. The value of the programme nationally is put at £1.1m. Those who qualify will be given free access to Atom Home, usually priced at £575.90 per year.

Atom Learning gained prominence a few years ago for raising the largest-ever Series-A funding round for a UK EdTech company. Its Chief Operating Officer, Flo Simpson, who leads its Outreach and Access department, said: “At Atom, our mission is to make exceptional education accessible to all, and our partnership with Queen Elizabeth’s will bring our award-winning learning technology to even more families. Atom empowers children to not only excel on their 11+ exam day, but to build a lasting love for learning and confidence that will pave their path to success throughout their lives. We’re dedicated to widening access to incredible education resources, and we’re delighted that grammar schools are putting pupil premium support at the top of their agendas.”