Home | News | World News | Nicky morgan set to approve first new grammar school in 50 years

Nicky morgan set to approve first new grammar school in 50 years

By Press Association

Published: 04:13 EST, 15 October 2015 | Updated: 04:14 EST, 15 October 2015

The first new grammar school in 50 years is set to be approved by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

She will give the green light to plans for a 450-pupil school in Sevenoaks, Kent, after months of legal wrangling, The Times reported.

Labour passed laws in 1998 banning the creation of new grammars - which are selective state schools - but existing schools are allowed to expand if there is sufficient demand.

Nicky Morgan will give the green light to plans for a new 450-pupil grammar school in Sevenoaks

Nicky Morgan will give the green light to plans for a new 450-pupil grammar school in Sevenoaks

The Sevenoaks school is not covered by the ban because it is officially an annexe of Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge.

The Department for Education said the report was "speculation" but it is understood that a written ministerial statement on school expansion will be made in the Commons.

The Times reported that Mrs Morgan will insist the decision does not mean the Government will scrap the Labour law, and the newspaper said the application would only be approved because governors met conditions set by Department for Education lawyers, including the requirement that pupils at the Sevenoaks site spend some time at Tonbridge once a week.

Campaigners in favour of more grammar schools have argued that scrapping the 11-plus test in most areas of the country has hampered social mobility for bright pupils from poor backgrounds.

London mayor Boris Johnson has described the decline of the grammar school system as a ''tragedy''.

Prime Minister David Cameron has previously said that "all good schools" should have the right to expand, including grammars, an assertion echoed by Mrs Morgan.

The expected decision was welcomed by Paul Carter, the leader of Tory-controlled Kent County Council.

He told The Times: " The school took great effort to submit their bid to give greater detailed information on how it will be one school, not two schools, and they did a very good job on that.

"The big issue about this decision is that it won't open up the floodgates. You have to have a grammar school there in the first place to expand.

"If you can't expand on-site you have to expand elsewhere, and that's all we have done in this case."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "We don't comment on speculation."

Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee and a strong supporter of grammar schools, welcomed the announcement.

"This is a small but positive step. It improves choice for parents, it is going to make life a lot easier for 450 children in the Sevenoaks area," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell dismissed the idea that the new school was simply an annexe to an existing school and said it would pave the way for many other remaining grammars to follow suit.

"Clearly a school that is 10 miles away on a different campus to all intents and purposes is a new school," she told the Today programme.

"The legal precedent that this will set - and that is why the Government has spent so much time and resources on getting that legal advice - will open the floodgates to many other existing grammar schools opening so-called annexes several miles away from their current campuses."

She rejected the idea the grammar schools opened up opportunities for pupils from poorer backgrounds, saying they were dominated by the children of middle class families who could afford to pay to tutor them through the 11 plus.

"Long gone are the days of the 50s and 60s when a few bright children from working class backgrounds were given an opportunity," she said.

"The grammar school selection process today is much more reflective of the means and the social capital to pass the 11 plus."

Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.

Most Watched Videos

Most Read News

Best Of The Web

 Join The Ghana Social Network

More from World News

Recent Comments

Most Popular Posts

USA News

UK News

News - Articles
Ghana Articles News
Go Up!