A total of 16 schools have been given a share of a £50million fund to build new classrooms – accommodating up to 4,000 extra pupils. The Daily Mail reports.
The schools, across 12 counties, were selected from 39 bidders and make up 10 per cent of the country’s 163 grammars. The money has been granted on the condition the schools carry out ambitious plans to admit more poor pupils.
All have pledged to prioritise disadvantaged applicants, either through quotas or by lowering pass marks for those below an income threshold.
They have also agreed to provide free test preparation materials for the 11-Plus, such as practice papers, so that no applicant is on the back foot.
Selection panel insiders said there was a ‘high bar’ for choosing schools and only those with the most radical plans to help poorer pupils were successful.
Announcing the list, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: ‘I have always been clear that selective schools will only be able to expand if they meet the high bar we have set for increasing access for disadvantaged children, and all of these schools have done that.”
Many of the successful schools are in the Home Counties, where there is a large concentration of grammars and where there has been a desperate shortage of secondary places. Others are in London, Dorset, Devon and the Midlands.
More than half of the schools have committed to lowering the mark required to pass the entrance test for pupils eligible for the ‘pupil premium’ – the Government measure of deprivation. Some agreed to lower the mark by up to ten points.
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