A PRESTIGIOUS Stourbridge boys' school is proposing to break with more than 350 years of tradition by admitting girls from the age of 11 from 2021.

Old Swinford Hospital school opened up its doors to female sixth form students back in 2004 but headmaster Paul Kilbride has now revealed plans are afoot to admit girls from year seven as both boarders and day pupils.

Just weeks after it was confirmed the school was set to acquire the neighbouring old Stourbridge College site in Hagley Road from BMet College - Mr Kilbride has now revealed the Heath Lane school will be consulting over the plan to admit girls over the next two months.

Mr Kilbride, who has been at the helm at OSH since 2014, told the News: "I know a lot of people are worried about the future of the site. This would enable education to continue on that site. The local authority needs more secondary school places. We can help them out and they are in support of our expansion.

"We know there's a demand for girls' places at OSH and this was clear to us when we consulted on a girls' school. We propose to admit girl boarders as well as girl day pupils."

The school's boarding offering has recently received an outstanding rating from Ofsted and Mr Kilbride added: "We feel a changed boarding offer will be well received by our current families with daughters, our colleagues at the MoD and the DfE with whom we work closely. To broaden the boarding offer makes sense."

He continued: "The historic and current funding climate is such that smaller schools are at a disadvantage in resourcing the curriculum and further opportunities so expansion in a measured and manageable way will, we feel, benefit everybody at school."

The proposals will, however, be subject to a full consultation with parents, staff and members of the community.

Consultation documents will be on the school's website oshsch.com from today (Thursday December 5) and public meetings will be held at the school in Heath Lane on January 3 from 7pm to 8pm and January 25 from 9am to 10am.