Press release regarding the co-education proposal

28th July 2023

New faces of Forest 24The Forest School in Winnersh is delighted to confirm that it will be welcoming girls from Year 7 in September next year.

Following a meeting with the Department for Education's (DfE) approval committee and the Regional Schools Commissioner yesterday (Thursday, 27th July), the secondary academy's proposal to become co-educational has been accepted.

Its application followed a consultation in which all members of the school community were invited to share their views, and most responses were supportive of the change. The pathway to becoming fully co-educational will now take five years from September 2024,  as each new year group moves up the school.

The school firmly believes that teaching boys and girls together is essential to preparing them for adult life, both in the modern workplace and the wider world, and will improve its educational standards.

It will also help to address a shortage of secondary level places across Wokingham Borough and make best use of surplus capacity at the school, which could not have been offered to girls without the DfE's permission.

Shirley Austin, Headteacher said "While we appreciate that some of our parents may be disappointed by this news, we can absolutely promise that our focus on their boys through Years 8 to 11 will not lessen and our current values and policies will not change."

"We believe that becoming co-educational offers an exciting opportunity to secure our future while consolidating the deep roots that we're proud to enjoy within our community." 

"The Forest School will flourish as it continues to deliver excellent education through its enhanced curriculum, elite facilities and excellent partners.”

"Over years to come, we'll continue to embed the core traditions and values originally set by The Forest Grammar School in 1957 and we look forward to helping young ladies thrive in the workplace alongside our young gentlemen. If you have any concerns or questions, we're here both to listen and to reassure you."

Parents, carers and anyone else who wishes to discuss the changes can email or

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