A £50 million fund was created by the Prime Minister last year to create extra places at existing selective schools

The first new grammar schools could open under the Theresa May expansion plan, it has emerged.

Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Faversham and Barton Court Grammar School in Canterbury are hoping to build “satellite” campuses if they are granted Government funds, and both have so far published consultations on their plans. 

Current legislation forbids new grammar schools from being created, but a £50 million fund was created by the Prime Minister last year to create extra places at existing selective schools.

So far, 16 grammars have been awarded funds to create new places on their existing site. But the two schools in Kent, if successful, would be the first to set up new “satellite” sites using Government funds. 

Dr Nuala Burgess, chair of Comprehensive Future, a group that campaigns against grammars, said this was an attempt to “build a new grammar school via the backdoor”.

“If this goes ahead, there’s nothing to stop the DfE from building dozens of dubious ‘annexe’ grammar schools all around the country,” she said.  

The £50 million expansion fund is the bedrock of Theresa May’s trimmed-down grammar revolution.

The money will be available to existing grammars on the condition they can prove they will take in more children from lower income backgrounds.

According to Kent County Council’s five-year plan for education provision, there will be a “gradual increase” in the need for school places in Canterbury and Faversham.

The “preferred option” to accommodate the extra pupil demand need would be to create a “satellite grammar provision” if the funds can be obtained from the Government.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Like any good school, selective schools can expand onto different sites. They must, however, demonstrate that it is a genuine expansion of an existing school and not a new institution.

“We have also made clear that selective schools will only receive funding for expansions if they can show how they will improve access for disadvantaged pupils.”

Meanwhile, teachers in schools in Kent have been told they may have to suspend classes and “adopt a carer role” in the event of disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit.

They have also been advised to check on food supplies and warned that public transport and school coaches could be affected if there is “panic buying” of fuel, according to an advisory document produced by Kent county council.

The schools have been told that they may have to consider looking after “stranded” children if parents are caught in gridlock.

Source: The Telegraph

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