The government has announced plans to commit £50m to existing grammar schools (of which there are 163 in England) which will assist in the creation of thousands of new places. This has been proposed despite a funding crisis in other state schools.
Critics had hoped that the expansion of academic selection had been dropped, after previous plans to allow the creation of new grammar schools were abolished by the government.
The Department for Education has claimed that this new funding will ease the choices of parents and the money is believed to become available during the school year starting in September.
Some of the funding aims to prioritise top students within the admissions process. It also hopes to improve essential outreach work within primary schools.
This decision has been criticised since its announcement, with education unions accusing the government of conducting an “elitist policy”. Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “The government cannot point to a single piece of evidence that shows strong educational benefit of this misguided policy.
“While it may benefit a small minority, it will not close the gap between rich and poor pupils and if anything will increase the divide.”
“School budgets are at breaking point. The state-funded school system is rapidly heading towards insolvency. To pursue such an elitist policy as expanding grammars at a time of crisis is a distraction at best. This money should be spent for the benefit of all children, not just the tiny number who attend grammar schools.”
The funding will also go towards setting up new voluntary aided schools, which will be run alongside the local council involvement, allowing the admissions process to be based purely on faith.