Anger at plan to expand grammar school system

Kent confirms reputation as Britain's most selective education authority

The country's most selective education authority is seeking to expand some of its grammar schools.

The decision by the Conservative- controlled Kent County Council has reignited the controversy over selective education and the future of the 11-plus. Furious teachers' leaders and parents' groups have urged the county to abandon the proposal.

Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, has instructed officials to draw up plans to increase grammar school places in the west of the county because the schools are oversubscribed.

His move follows 11-plus results that show 5,113 pupils passed the test this month but the county's grammar schools only have 4,458 places available for them. Controversially, 993 of those who passed the test live outside the county.

Speaking to The Independent, Mr Carter said: "We have found that grammar schools in the west of the county have been oversubscribed whereas we struggle to fill some places in the east of the county.

"What I'm proposing would involve an expansion in the west with one or two extra forms of entry.

"However, we could keep to around 24 per cent or 25 per cent of pupils going to grammar school by some reduction in the east."

However, the move could face legal difficulties as a government directive giving the green light for popular schools to expand specifically excluded grammar and selective schools from benefiting from the scheme. It is possible for authorities to plead a special case.

Kent is also at loggerheads with Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, who has made it clear he is dissatisfied with the number of low-performing schools in the county and is sending in a team of experts to improve their exam results.

The county has the highest number of schools failing to reach the Government's target of 30 per cent of pupils getting five A* to C grades at GCSE including maths and English.

In all, 22 of its 270 schools face closure or being turned into one of the Government's flagship academies for failing to reach the target.

Mr Balls has made it clear he opposes selection and believes it makes it more difficult for secondary modern schools to succeed. He has warned that some young people entering secondary modern schools "feel on day one that they have already failed".

Kent's move may thrust the question of grammar schools back to the centre of the stage for an incoming Conservative government if it wins the next election.

Mr Carter wants the extra places to be available next September and accepted his own party might look more favourably on the proposal.

Meanwhile, teachers' leaders and parents' groups opposed to selection have attacked Kent's plan.

Marian Darke, south-eastern regional secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "This is a problem of Kent's own making.

"It has stuck rigidly to its idea of having grammar schools. If they didn't have them and were comprehensive like most of the rest of the country, they would have people from neighbouring authorities believing they would be better off in their [own] schools."

Margaret Tulloch, secretary of Comprehensive Future, an anti-selection pressure group, added: "Instead of tinkering with the sizes of grammar schools Kent should be arguing for an end to its selective system which labels most 10-year-olds as failures."

Grammar schools: The future

*There are 164 remaining grammar schools in England, spread over about 30 education authorities.

Kent is among just a handful of authorities whose systems are still completely selective.

At present, if parents want to end selection in their area, there has to be a petition, followed by a ballot and vote.

The Government and the Tories have both made it clear they do not want to see any more selective schools being established.

Ministers have also made it clear they would like to see selective schools excluded from proposals allowing successful schools to expand – so as to cap the number of selective school places within the education system. However, they have acknowledged they are prepared to consider any special cases.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Ashdown Group: HR Generalist - 2 week contract - £200pd - Immediate start

£200 per day: Ashdown Group: Working within a business that has a high number ...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Maths Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: We are currently recruiting f...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher -Full Time - ...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?