Published: 14:12, 15 February 2019
| Updated: 14:13, 15 February 2019
Anti-selection campaigners have criticised the government after it announced details of a second round of funding for grammar schools to expand.
The Department for Education is inviting schools to bid for a share of a £50m pot of money that will enable grammars to boost their numbers - so long as they show that their plans demonstrate a commitment to offer more places to children from poorer backgrounds.
Launching the scheme, schools minister Nick Gibb said: "Selective schools are some of the highest-performing schools in the country so it’s right that more pupils should have the opportunity to benefit from the world-class education they provide.
"It’s also right that access to those places should be fair to pupils from all backgrounds, which is why selective schools must demonstrate how they are going to admit more pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, if they are going to expand."
In the first round of the scheme, seven of the county’s grammars unsuccessfully applied for a share of the money. They were:
One did get the backing of the government - the Rochester Grammar School in Medway.
Joanne Bartley, of the Kent Education Network, which opposes selection, said: “The idea that grammar schools need to be be bribed with cash to admit more disadvantaged pupils is quite frankly distasteful.”
“The latest £50 million handout to grammar schools suggests we have a government that picks favourites, supporting one type of school at the expense of the rest.
"There seems to be a casual assumption that parents like grammar schools, when the reality is we've been stuck with this school system since 1944 and no one's actually asked parents if an 11-plus at 10 is what we want for our children."
A controversial scheme for a grammar annexe was opened in Sevenoaks in 2017, managed by the Weald of Kent Girls Grammar School in Tonbridge.
The annexe was built in response to a shortage of places in the town.
More by this authorPaul Francis