A new grammar school for more than 1,000 pupils could lead to dozens more being created across the country, Daily Mail is reporting.
The plan involves creating a ‘satellite campus’ of an existing selective school in Kent.
Establishing new grammars is illegal, but the scheme may be allowed if it is defined as an ‘extension’ of an existing site and relatively nearby.
Grammar schools are in high demand among parents who want a rigorous academic education for their children and cannot afford private school fees.
Two schools – Barton Court Grammar in Canterbury and Queen Elizabeth’s in Faversham – both want to build a new campus on the coast near Whitstable, around 10 miles from both sites and catering for 150 pupils per year.
Both are to submit rival applications to ministers and will bid for a slice of the Government’s new £50million Selective School Expansion Fund. Parents in the area have long complained their children have to commute long distances to access grammars.
Kent County Council has already said a satellite grammar is the ‘preferred option’ to cope with demand from new housing developments. Kent has 32 grammars, more than most other areas of the country, so the potential for expansion is large.
Nuala Burgess, chairman of the group, said: ‘It’s a shocking use of education funding to try to bypass the law and build a new grammar school via the back door. If this goes ahead, there’s nothing to stop the DfE (Department for Education) from building dozens of dubious ‘annexe’ grammar schools all around the country, all without parliamentary scrutiny, and all in breach of the law.’
The DfE said selective schools will only receive funding for expansions if they can prove how they will improve access for disadvantaged pupils.
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