The expansion of grammar schools in Kent is expected to continue following a government pledge to increase funding for “existing good or outstanding selective schools” by £50 million.
As part of the Selective Schools Expansion Fund, selective schools will have to essentially bid for additional finance, after they have submitted a plan that will aim to “increase admissions of disadvantaged pupils”.
Earlier this week, Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School, a grammar in Rochester, was granted an expansion to increase its annual intake by 20 students to 200, and is not the only selective school to have increased dramatically in recent years.
Political discussion on grammar schools has been occurring since the Victorian era, and looks set to continue for a future generation.
In Canterbury, whilst neither Simon Langton Grammar schools have expanded, Barton Court Grammar have opened a building with 10 classrooms, dining hall and kitchen to expand their numbers earlier this year.
And slightly further afield, both the Norton Knatchbull and Highworth grammars in nearby Ashford have risen to a dramatic 210 student a year intake, some of the highest in the region.
As a result of the fund, both Barton Court Grammar and the Norton Knatchbull Grammar schools can be expected to bid for the funds as both currently having further pending expansion goals, with others predicted to follow.
What is the 11+ Test?
– A set of tests usually involving Non-Verbal and Verbal elements to establish a person’s IQ. Most others also include English, Maths and less frequently; Creative Writing.
– Offered to Year 6 children who live in an area with grammar schools.
– Used to be held across England and Northern Ireland until being phased out in 1970’s.
– Still used for the 232 grammars left in the UK.
Consequently, it has been estimated that even before the £50 million funding increase is given, 11,000 more grammar school places have been created since 2010.
This news also comes after the government decided not to overturn the current ban on creating new grammar schools (since 1998), which not only created divisions in Parliament, but has been viewed as a policy which helped lose the Tories their majority last year.
Domestically, grammar schools have been grounds for contentious debate in Kent, with many grammar schools in the region having been forced to become comprehensive during the 1980’s, and reverting back to the selective system during the 1990’s. There are currently 32 in the county.
Norton Knatchbull Grammar School have been contacted for comment.