Setting up new selective schools is forbidden by law, but there’s a way to get around this ban. Existing grammars can apply to open a ‘satellite’ selective school on a different site. This has already happened in Sevenoaks where a satellite to the Weald of Kent Grammar School opened in September 2017.
Guidance for grammars wishing to grow under the Selective Schools Expansion Fund makes it clear the Department for Education will consider ‘applications [which] would typically include expansions onto another site (satellite expansions) and/or those requiring land acquisition.’
The guidance says the DfE would only be able to support a ‘small number’ of these ‘Category 2’ projects because of the cost implications. Funds for expanding selective schools are ‘limited’, the DfE says.
At a time when all schools are facing funding difficulties, it’s unacceptable that the DfE has allocated even a limited amount of money to allow the expansion of schools which discriminate against the majority of children.
The DfE says successful expansion schemes must demonstrate there’s a need for additional secondary places locally and a demand from parents for selective places. But these extra places would not be available to all local pupils, only those who pass the 11+.
Schools funded by the state should be accessible to all children. Schools funded by the state shouldn’t be able to choose which taxpayers’ children can attend.