Rise in grammar school pupils is selective education ‘by stealth’

Teachers’ union leaders say increasing number of selective places is not best way to raise standards

Education Editor

A group of leading state grammar schools is planning a major increase in pupil numbers – as selective education continues to expand despite the ban on new schools.

The five grammar schools run by the King Edward VI Foundation are seeking to enrol a further 130 pupils to the state schools from September, The Independent can disclose.

In addition, the foundation intends to increase the number of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds at the two independent schools it runs – by increasing the amount of money offered in scholarships and subsidised fees by £3m over the next seven years. At present, it funds 300 pupils at the two schools.

The plans will fuel concern among grammar school opponents about the expansion of selective education by stealth. Teachers’ union leaders say that increasing the number of selective school places is not the best way to raise standards because the 11-plus test comes too early to make a decision about their future.

But the foundation is taking on board criticism of grammar schools in a report by the Sutton Trust education charity last week – in which it was suggested they favoured children from more affluent backgrounds – by launching a drive to recruit gifted pupils in disadvantaged areas.

Research by the trust showed children from private prep schools were four times more likely to obtain places nationally than those on free school meals. This is despite the fact that only 6 per cent of that age group go to prep schools while 16 per cent qualify for free school meals.

The five King Edward VI state grammar schools operated by the foundation are all in Birmingham : Aston, Camp Hill school for Boys, Camp Hill School for Girls, Five Ways and Handsworth.

John Claughton, headmaster of the foundation, said: “This is a significant, if not historic, move by the Foundation.

“Our independent schools are two of the most socially and ethnically mixed independent schools in the country and we are deeply committed to accessibility.”

The expansion plan comes at a time when the number of grammar school pupils is growing, despite the fact that the number of grammars has remained at 164 for the past 20 years because of a ban on new schools.

The number of grammar school pupils went up by 32,000 during the lifetime of the Blair government. This trend has continued under the Coalition – particularly in Sevenoaks, Kent, where permission has been granted for a satellite of an existing grammar school to be opened.Grammar school campaigners have been predicting for some time now that their numbers would be expanding – particularly in Birmingham and Lincolnshire, where they are heavily oversubscribed.

John Collins, secretary to the governors of the foundation, said: “We are increasing admission to our five free grammar schools for 2014 under the existing selection criteria but we aim to implement changes that will make all of our schools more accessible from 2015.”

He added: “The Foundation wants to ensure that all parents and schools with naturally gifted and talented children are aware of the opportunities.

“In addition, those talented children from less privileged backgrounds need to have the same chances as other children: the lack of awareness and the opportunities they offer does not sit comfortably with our charitable purposes.”

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Senior Research Fellow in Water and Resilient communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: Our team of leading academic...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistants...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker